Nov. 10, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The city has completed its goal to construct 50 soccer pitches throughout the five boroughs in five years, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The 50th mini-pitch was recently completed in Manhattan, marking the final soccer field built in the city through a $3 million initiative aimed at expanding free soccer programming in underserved neighborhoods and promoting a healthy, active lifestyle to city kids.
The “New York City Soccer Initiative,” launched in 2016, was made possible through a private-public partnership between the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, New York City Football Club, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Adidas and Etihad Airways.
“Investing in recreational spaces for our children builds stronger communities,” de Blasio said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Mayor’s Fund and our partners for their commitment to provide more youth with opportunities to participate in sports and programs where they can develop life skills to succeed on and off the pitch.”
The last 13 mini-pitches were installed this year — ushering the city to its 50-pitches goal on schedule, despite challenges created by the pandemic.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) November 10, 2021
In addition to the new fields, the initiative provides more than 10,000 youth in historically underserved NYC communities access to free soccer programming. The programming includes the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s “soccer for success” program and New York City Football Club’s “city in the community” foundation soccer programming.
The program also aims to mentor the city’s youth and works with the city’s Young Men’s Initiative to provide young men of color with mentorship opportunities.
New mini-pitches built this year in Queens include one in Flushing, one in Rockaway Park and one in East Elmhurst.
There have been 12 mini-pitches built across the borough since the initiative launched in 2016.
The CEO of New York City Football Club Brad Sims said he hopes the pitches have a lasting impact on the local communities where they are placed.
“Since our inauguration, we have been working to build a Club that is part of the fabric of this great city and one that will leave a lasting, tangible and positive impact across the five boroughs,” Sims said in a statement. “After just five years, we are tremendously proud to fulfill our promise, see these 50 pitches already having a huge impact on local communities and to know that they will forever be a part of New York City.”
Below are all 12 soccer pitches built through the initiative in Queens.
Built in 2021:
Vleigh Playground/P.S. 165 – 7035 150th St, Flushing, NY 11367
Bayside Playground – 102-15 Beach Channel Dr, Rockaway Park, NY 11694
Louis Moser Playground – 25th Avenue and 76th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370
Built in 2020:
Utopia Playground (Utopia, Queens) – 73rd Avenue &, Utopia Pkwy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
Pomonok Playground (Pomonok, Queens) – Kissena Blvd. &, 65th Ave, Flushing, NY 11367
Fresh Meadows Playground (Fresh Meadows, Queens) – 173rd St, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
Built in 2019:
Equity Playground (Woodhaven, Queens) – 91-02 88th Ave, Woodhaven, NY 11421
Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Flushing/Corona, Queens) – Corona, NY 11368
Built in 2018:
Playground 62/P.S. 220 Edward Mandel (Forest Hills/Corona, Queens)
Built in 2017:
Triborough Bridge Playground (B), (Astoria, Queens)
P.S. 019 Marino Jeantet, (Corona, Queens)
Irwin Altman Middle School 172/Hillside Park, (Glen Oaks, Queens)
A full list of mini-pitch locations can be found here. The initiative also earmarks funds for maintaining the pitches.
I’m here to see the right wing kooks decry soccer as “socialism.”
The only thing that could make watching grass grow more dull is putting a soccer match on it.