On Wednesday, September 11, New York City FC will host the Club’s First Responders Night presented by Your Local Ford Stores when the team takes on Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium at 7 p.m.
Importantly, this is the first time NYCFC – the only professional soccer team to play within the five boroughs – will host a home game on the anniversary of September 11.
The Club has incorporated various moments into the match to bring together fans and players in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, including:
- NYCFC First Team jersey numbers will be changed to a United States flag pattern and NYCFC players will wear special 9/11 remembrance armbands
- NYCFC players will walk out onto the pitch in specially designed 9/11 warm up shirts that pay tribute to City agencies
- Prior to the match, the Club will hold a moment of silence
- More than 75 First Responders will display a field-size United States flag during the National Anthem; the Club will host these First Responders and their families in NYCFC suites to enjoy the match
- There will be a joint color guard consisting of the NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority Police and Department of Sanitation
- The Tunnel of Honor, a tradition held at every home match, will be amplified during this match as FDNY and NYPD walk out side-by-side with the players to honor their service
- First Responders and their families will be recognized as Ford Hero of the Match, Honorary Captain and set off the traditional match starting smoke stacks
- NYPD and FDNY soccer teams who participated in the Club’s annual Local Ford Classic will receive on-field recognition; Your Local Ford Stores will follow with a donation to 9/11 related groups via NY’s Finest SC and the FF Sergio Villanueva Soccer Foundation
To start off the month, the NYCFC First Team paid tribute to victims, survivors, families and all those affected by the events of September 11, 2001 with a team visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in downtown Manhattan.
The FDNY and NYPD soccer teams once again joined the NYCFC players for this visit and participated in a ceremonial jersey swap at the Survivor Tree in honor of Sergio Villanueva, a fallen firefighter and police officer.
NYCFC Sporting Director, Claudio Reyna, discussed what the visit meant to him and the team:
“Everyone remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. I was representing this country as captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team; that was a huge honor and responsibility.
“It is important for all of our NYCFC players, coaches and staff to understand what it means to represent this great City. Visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as a team was an incredible experience for everyone in our Club to celebrate resiliency and stand shoulder to shoulder with the FDNY and NYPD and who are part of the fabric of New York City.
“We will continue to honor our local heroes throughout the year, including at every home game with the Tunnel of Honor which is one of our favorite traditions. This year’s First Responders Night on September 11 will be particularly significant for us. It will be an important moment when we can use the power of soccer to bring New Yorkers together and pay tribute to those that were, and continue to be, affected by 9/11. It will be inspiring for both our players and fans and the match atmosphere will create a sense of community as we remember that day.”
NYCFC Team Captain, Alex Ring, spoke about his experience on behalf of the team:
“We are proud to represent the five boroughs, and we know it is a privilege to play for New York City. Our team visit to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum was an important opportunity to come together to honor those affected by the 9/11 attacks. It was very emotional to stand together with the FDNY and NYPD soccer teams. They show us what it means to be a New Yorker and serve our City.”