The next soccer superstar may be coming out of Brownsville.
On Monday, the students of Brownsville’s P.S. 446 Riverdale Avenue Community School celebrated “NYC Soccer Day” with the opening of a brand-new mini-soccer pitch, thanks to the NYC Soccer Initiative, a partnership between the Mayor’s Fund and NYC’s major league football club New York City FC (NYCFC).
Launched in 2016, the New York City Soccer Initiative is a $3 million public-private partnership to build and maintain 50 soccer pitches in underserved NYC neighborhoods and provide free programming for school children. The initiative repurposes underutilized public spaces into safe places to promote physical health and youth development and community engagement where soccer is not always accessible.
P.S.446’s Principal Meghan Dunn was very excited about the new soccer field, and so were the kids, she shared.
“Any opportunity the kids have to play a team sport or to learn organized sports is a great chance for them to be able to compete in the world in different ways,” said Dunn. “And the kids are super excited to have an actual field. The kids and the staff have been already outside playing since the pitch was finished.”
The school is now working with the NYCFC to bring after-school programming to the school and how to possibly integrate soccer into the curriculum.
After a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the students blessed the new pitch with performances including a special appearance by the RACSteppers, the school’s three-time national step champion.
Then, it was finally time to put the field to the real test. The kids received guidance and instruction from NYCFC coaches and were joined by NYCFC professional soccer player Rodney Wallace who jumped right into the game.
“Soccer brings people together,” said Wallace. “Soccer has given me a lot and it’s important for me to give back to the community because without the community we aren’t much. And anything I and my team can do bridge a gap for the community, that’s amazing.”
The Brownsville school was not only one to celebrate a new soccer pitch. As part of NYC Soccer Day, a total of ten fiels were opened across the city; a second Brooklyn pitch has now found a home at Bushwick’s I.S. 384 Frances E. Carter.