New York City is hoping to get kids excited about soccer. On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the New York City Football Club and Adidas announced the launch of the New York City Soccer Initiative.
The objective of this public-private partnership is to build and maintain 50 soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years. The fields will begin to open as early as next year.
“We believe that through sports, we have to power to change people’s lives,” said Ernesto Bruce, senior director of soccer for Adidas.
“Sports gives young people so many amazing social, emotional and physical benefits that reward them for life. But there’s a lot threatening sports today — including safe access for kids to play. Today’s announcement to create and maintain 50 soccer fields, spread across five boroughs of New York City, will help bring sports to more kids, giving them a sense of community they might not otherwise have.”
The announcement comes with a pledge from the partners to invest a total of $3 million to build and maintain the fields and provide free programming for New York City school children focused on healthy, active living and mentorship.
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The program will provide after-school soccer and mentoring programs, such as soccer clinics, festivals and youth summits. It will also include a partnership with the city’s Young Men’s Initiative, providing young men of color with mentorship opportunities.
Adidas is the official sponsor and supplier partner of tournaments such as FIFA World Cup and Major League Soccer. Players on the Adidas roster include Leo Messi, Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale.