Today, NYC Parks First Deputy Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa joined Congressman Ritchie Torres, His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States (UAE Embassy), City in the Community – the foundation proudly supported by New York City Football Club (NYCFC), City Council Member Oswald Feliz, City Council Member Althea Stevens, representatives from Friends of Crotona, and students from the East Bronx Academy for the Future to celebrate the completion of a $363,000 refurbishment of the Crotona Park Soccer Field, made possible through the support of the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC and NYCFC. Looks like everyone was having fun!
“After an incredibly tough year for so many here in the Bronx, and especially for the Melrose community, we are thrilled that the children of this community have a beautiful new soccer field to enjoy,” said First Deputy Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa. “We are especially thankful to Congressman Torres for his advocacy, and to the UAE Embassy and the City in the Community for their contribution and excellent new neighborhood recreation space which will promote high quality recreation for generations to come.”
“The South Bronx has long lacked high-quality park space for recreation and community gathering,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “This soccer field will provide much needed green space and meaningful youth programming for the Crotona Park community. I am appreciative of efforts by Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, and NYCFC, who made this soccer field possible, and am excited to see the significant impact it will have on our community.”
In addition to the rebuilding of the field, beginning spring 2022, City in the Community will provide ongoing and complimentary youth soccer programming, made possible through support by the UAE Embassy. This announcement comes following NYCFC’s historic first-ever MLS Cup victory, the first championship win for a New York sports organization in a decade.
“We are delighted to be part of providing this world-class facility to the Crotona Park community,” said UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “All kids deserve year-round access to quality and safe playing fields. NYCFC’s long term coaching program means the lives of many kids in the area will be positively impacted for years to come.”
NYCFC CEO Brad Sims stated: “Since the Club’s founding, NYCFC has worked to create a significant and lasting impact on the communities across New York and increase access to free soccer in one of the most impressive areas for talent across the world. Today’s ribbon cutting marks the third pitch we’ve built in partnership with the UAE Embassy and the 54th total community pitch we’ve help build throughout the City. We are incredibly proud to open this field in our home borough alongside our partners at NYC Parks, the UAE Embassy and Congressman Ritchie Torres.”
Located on the east side of Crotona Park, the field consists of a polyethylene synthetic material on a stone surface, which is environmentally safe and state of the art in accordance with NYC Parks turf field specifications.
City Football Group (CFG), the majority owner of NYCFC, and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates have collaborated before to provide deserving children access to quality playing fields along with world-class coaching and education programs. In 2012, the Embassy and CFG’s Manchester City Football Club unveiled a rooftop soccer field at PS 72 Lexington Academy in East Harlem, the first of its kind in New York City. Today, the program at PS 72 is organized and managed by City in the Community and serves more than 400 kids a week through after-school programs, promoting healthy eating and physical exercise. In 2016, the partners teamed up again on a field at PS 24 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. This project was part of the UAE’s commitment to help restore communities in New York that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
The UAE is a source of stability, tolerance, innovation, and growth in the Arabian Gulf and around the globe. The United States and the UAE are reliable allies, with historical and present-day shared security and economic interests. In fact, the UAE is the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East and more US naval vessels visit UAE ports than any other port outside the United States. The United States and the UAE also enjoy growing social and cultural ties, and many US institutions in education, healthcare and the arts have formed collaborative partnerships with UAE entities.
New York City Football Club (NYCFC) is an American professional soccer team that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the Eastern Conference of the League. It was announced as the League’s 20th franchise on May 21, 2013 and is the first and only MLS Club located within the five boroughs of New York City. NYCFC kicked off its inaugural MLS season in March 2015 and is majority owned by City Football Group (CFG). The Club has qualified for MLS playoffs the last six consecutive seasons; in 2019 the Club finished at the top of the Eastern Conference and qualified for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League for the first time in franchise history. NYCFC’s Academy currently features teams from the U-12 to U-18 age groups and became the first Academy in the country to win back-to-back national titles at the U-19 level. NYCFC proudly supports City in the Community (CITC) foundation to use the power of soccer to uplift communities; one of the programs, New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) is a first-of-its-kind public-private community partnership to open 50 mini-soccer pitches in underserved NYC neighborhoods in five years.
See what else the NYC Parks Department is doing Here.