New York City FC has partnered with the City of New York, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and Adidas on a $3 million initiative. Construction on the fields will take place over the next five years, with the goal being to build interest in soccer while sprucing up some of the city’s parks, including Millbrook Playground in the South Bronx. Each side is contributing $750,000, with the total cost also covering future maintenance and after-school activities.
Though the idea for the project actually began with the U.S. Soccer Foundation taking its nationwide initiative to the city’s Mayor’s Fund, New York City F.C. emerged as a key partner. It was at the suggestion of the team that 50 fields are being installed, while New York City F.C. played a role in getting Adidas signed on as a sponsor.
Obviously the outreach done by the team is coming at a crucial point. New York City FC has spent the last several years floating new stadium concepts around the city, including proposals in Flushing Meadows, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and at Columbia University. With no firm plan on the table, New York City FC is likely to continue playing at Yankee Stadium–where the team has had some success, despite some logistical challenges–for the foreseeable future. From the New York Post:
“There’s no new news on the stadium,” [team president Jon] Patricof said. “We’re working really hard on it. We’re extremely committed to finding a home in the five boroughs. We’re only gonna get to choose a stadium site once, so it has to be right. So we’re working really hard to find the right site.”
Sporting director Claudio Reyna said “positive inroads” have been made toward finding a site but provided no other update. He added that the sporting side — the players, coaches and front office — haven’t spent much time thinking about a new stadium and that they’re happy with their current home.
“It’s not something we really think about,” Reyna said. “Sometimes I take a step back and, again, it’s one of those things I dream about and can’t wait and look forward to having our own stadium, but we gotta worry about the next game. So we don’t talk about it.”
Being involved in this project may help New York City FC in building good will across the boroughs of New York City, but the team is downplaying that aspect. More from the New York Times:
Jon Patricof, the president of New York City F.C., said the team was continuing its search for a location in the five boroughs. He added that 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.”