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Teaching Soccer to the Next Generation

ericshainock's picture

New York City F.C. is the newest sports team in New York, and they are making a big splash in the community. New York City F.C., in conjunction with the city, Adidas and U.S. Soccer Foundation, plan to build 50 soccer fields across the five boroughs over the next five years. The goal of this partnership is to increase participation in the sport and promote health and social skills among young people in under-served neighborhoods.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the fields will be built on run-down property as well as existing parks and playgrounds. The project will hopefully reach an estimated 10,000 children, according to the team and city. This is huge because it will impact thousands of kids and the city is helping improve run-down areas of the city.

The New York Times reports that the four partners will each contribute $750,000 to build the fields and will also cover the cost of after-school activities that align with the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

“The city and public have skin in the game, and the private companies have skin in the game, so it’s a way to build bridges throughout our city that is very significant,” Gabrielle Fialkoff, the director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships, said in a quote to the New York Times. “When you couple those private resources with the scale and breadth of our city agencies, innovative solutions can happen in a way that public systems can’t do by themselves.” This ensures that each partner is committed to the vision of this project and that all four organizations believe in the community investment piece of it.

The team does not have a location for its own soccer stadium. Currently, it has been playing its home games at Yankee Stadium, as the team is partially owned by the Yankees. Jon Patricof, president of New York City F.C., said the team was continuing its search for a location in the five boroughs. However, the team's participation in the partnership with the city was not about attracting new fans, but about a broader goal of having an impact on the community.

“For us, this is not about what happens on our match days,” Patricof said. “For us, this is about our commitment to the sport and all the positive things soccer can do for kids and their families.”

This is a great example of a team creating a footprint and building a legacy in the community from the beginning. As team expansion has become more prevalent and relocation has occurred (Los Angeles Rams, Las Vegas NHL team), there is a need for teams to create a footprint in new communities. More important, New York City F.C. is creating a lasting impact and changing the sport for the better. The team is getting young kids involved and teaching them the sport to help shape their future.

Eric Shainock works for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as an Account Representative in the Strategic Partnerships division after previously working at Intersport, a sports marketing agency. He is a 2014 graduate of the Ohio University Sports Administration Graduate Program. Feel free to reach out via email: or on Twitter: @ericshainock.

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