NYC Soccer Initiative

The New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) partners in October 2020 celebrated the installation of seven new mini-soccer pitches across the city—part of the 50-pitch, five-year project—with a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Launched in 2016, NYCSI is a first-of-its-kind $3 million public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, New York City Football Club (NYCFC), the U.S. Soccer Foundation, adidas, and Etihad Airways, to create and maintain 50 mini-pitches across the city over five years and expand free soccer programming to 10,000 young New Yorkers.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative remains on track to complete the installation of all 50 pitches by the end of 2021. To date, a total of 37 pitches have been constructed throughout all five boroughs. Thousands of youth now have access to free programming—including the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program run by the Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) and NYCFC’s City in the Community Foundation program—at these locations.

“Investing in recreational spaces for our children builds stronger communities and brings New Yorkers together for positive and healthy social experiences.” —First Lady Chirlane McCray

Hosted by FOX5 Lead Sports Anchor Tina Cervasio, and including a performance by Renaissance Youth from the South Bronx and a video roll call featuring a ribbon cutting from each new site, the 2020 virtual event celebrated the community spirit that has been central to NYCSI’s mission since its inception.

The centerpiece of the event was the culmination of a youth mini-pitch design contest. Students across the five boroughs were invited to submit artwork that showcased how a new safe place to play can come to life in their local community. The top three submissions were selected by a panel of renowned urban designers, community leaders, and representatives from each of the NYCSI partners including: David Hodge (Partner at Rafael Viñoly Architects), Rick Parisi (MPFP: Landscape Architecture & Urban Design), Jon Stemp (Chief Infrastructure Officer at City Football Group), Marta Hernandez (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), Paul Philps (Bronx Community Board Four), Eric Klinenberg (Professor of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University).

During the virtual event First Lady Chirlane McCray and NYCFC Goalkeeper Brad Stuver, with the help of NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, awarded the grand prize to Justine from PS 173 Fresh Meadows.

“Investing in recreational spaces for our children builds stronger communities and brings New Yorkers together for positive and healthy social experiences,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “These safe places to play will provide more youth with opportunities to participate in sports and programs where they can develop the life skills that will help them succeed on and off the pitch.”