NYCFC and NYCSI open 50th mini-soccer pitch

New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and New York City Soccer Initiative (NYCSI) partners—including the First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and First Team coaches and players from New York City Football Club (NYCFC)—celebrated the completion of the five-year initiative with the unveiling of a final mini-pitch at P.S. 184 Shuang Wen in Chinatown, Manhattan.

In addition to today’s ribbon cutting, NYCSI partners announced a new commitment to create an additional 26 new mini-pitches in lead up to the 2026 World Cup and the creation of NYCSI Community Cup—a free 5v5 tournament across 50 NYCSI mini-pitches for youth from all five boroughs.

The 2021 Golden Boot Winner Valentin Castellanos, Maxi Moralez, Tayvon Gray, James Sands and Malte Amundsen were in attendance at today’s ribbon cutting.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City FC head coach:

“I’ve spent a lot of time in New York City during my career. It’s a city I love deeply and over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to see firsthand New Yorkers’ passion for football. Young people want to play and need a place to play. The fact that there are now 50 new football pitches throughout New York City because of NYCFC and our Group is amazing and will make a big difference in the lives of young people. I have said it for many years, I believe there is an incredibly bright future for football in the U.S. and amazing projects like this one will play a part in helping to produce the next generation of young American talent. All over the world, I’ve seen how football can change lives; it brings people together like no other sport – and I’m very proud that our Group has played a part in using our sport to bring people together and give young people more places to play the game we love here in Manchester and around the world.”

Ronny Deila, NYCFC head coach:

“When I moved to New York two years ago, the passion this city has for football was clear to me from day one. I’m now proud to call myself a new New Yorker and be part of this initiative that has created 50 safe spaces and programming through mini-pitches across the five boroughs. As we get closer to the 2026 World Cup and as the city’s love for football continues to grow even further, these pitches will serve more communities than ever before and be a part of this city forever. Seeing young people enjoying these pitches is what football is all about.”

First Lady Chirlane McCray:

“These soccer pitches are a tremendous contribution to the mental and physical fitness of our young people. The skills they learn and the games they play provide opportunities for them to learn teamwork and empathy. I thank the Mayor’s Fund and community partners for fulfilling a promise to bring 50 new soccer pitches to neighborhoods all across New York City."

Brad Sims, NYCFC CEO:

“Since our inauguration, we have been working to build a Club that is part of the fabric of this great City and one that will leave a lasting, tangible and positive impact across the five boroughs. Along with our incredible partners, we’ve made a significant step in realizing this vision by completing this ambitious 50-pitch project that will provide safe spaces for all New Yorkers to learn and play soccer. After just five years, we are tremendously proud to fulfill our promise, see these 50 pitches already having a huge impact on local communities and to know that they will forever be a part of New York City.”

Sean Johnson, NYCFC team captain and goalkeeper:

“Providing kids across the boroughs access to a safe space to play the game in a way that really brings communities and people of different walks of the world together is an amazing accomplishment, and I know this is just the beginning. NYCSI being one of the first in the space to create that access, and now seeing how important and impactful it is, is something to be proud of. It’s something that’s easy to model in other cities and to see it now widespread across the country by other clubs and cities is amazing.”

Jack Harrison, Leeds United FC player – and former NYCFC player:

“Hi everyone in New York, this is Jack Harrison. Firstly I just wanted to say congratulations on making the playoffs. It’s an amazing achievement and you guys have been doing great all season so best of luck in the playoffs. And secondly, I just wanted to congratulate the club and all the partners for the participation in the 50-pitch project. It’s something that I was a part of when I was there and I feel really proud to be a part of it and to see the club having such a huge impact on the community, it’s an incredible, incredible achievement. So congratulations to everyone involved and I’m looking forward to hopefully making it back soon and seeing the pitches and seeing you guys play. Best of luck with everything and all the best from me at my end. I’ll be supporting from Leeds.”

Zack Steffen, Manchester City FC goalkeeper:

“I’ve heard a lot about this incredible initiative that our Group has undertaken in New York City. I am close friends with Sean Johnson and know he has been closely involved in the project for a number of years. I have heard from him what a fantastic project this is – and what a difference it is already making in the lives of young New Yorkers who want to play soccer. We share a passion for growing our sport across the U.S. and this begins with young people having more access to free and safe places to play – especially in big cities where there isn’t always a lot of space. 50 pitches in five years in a phenomenal achievement and I’m proud to play for a Group that supports local communities. I know we do the same in my new home, Manchester. Hopefully, I will be able to visit one of the pitches in New York City sometime soon and see it for myself the difference they are making.”