Manchester City Football Club today celebrated the dedication of a team-funded football pitch located on the roof of P.S. 72 Lexington Academy in New York City's Spanish Harlem.
Dubbed “City@School,” the lighted, synthetic grass rooftop pitch is the first of its kind in Manhattan, and will be for the exclusive use of the elementary school and its students.
The launch marks the beginning of an ongoing partnership with children across New York having access to City’s award-winning coaching and education programs.
City players Shay Given, Pablo Zabaleta, Patrick Vieira, Vincent Kompany and Vladimir Weiss, as well as team executives and guests from the embassy of the United Arab Emirates, were on hand for the club’s first long term investment for the NYC community.
“Social responsibility and community engagement are deeply-seeded in Manchester City Football Club's heritage,” said City Chief Executive Garry Cook. “Everyone involved with Manchester City is part of the 'City family,’ and for that reason, we’re thrilled to extend our reach into the Spanish Harlem community.”
The Lexington Academy project came to fruition through a newly- formed partnership with New York City-based Downtown United Soccer Club (DUSC).
As part of this partnership, City in the Community (CITC) will work closely with DUSC to expand their inner-city outreach program, the City Soccer Initiative (CSI) - the first of a series of community initiatives to be announced during City’s US tour and beyond.
“Sports are an important aspect to a child’s overall development,” said P.S. 72 Principal Tony Hernandez. “This pitch will serve as a reminder to P.S. 72 and Manchester City’s commitment to ensuring we’re giving every student the tools needed to develop in every aspect of their education.”
DUSC’s Community Soccer Initiative is led by Paul Jeffries, a New Yorker and MCFC fan who volunteers his time to act as CSI’s Executive Director. Jeffries’ commitment has been instrumental in the development of the pitch at Lexington Academy.
“We’ve seen a great response from children at the school who can’t wait to use the field,” said Jeffries.
The area is very passionate about soccer, and this pitch gives them a unique place to play right in their community
The field was jointly funded by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and City, whose owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. As the UAE embassy continues to build relationships in the US, they are proud to have embarked upon this project that will have a meaningful impact on the community.
“Sports have an incredible ability to unite people and improve the communities they touch,” said UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba. “This field is a testament to the UAE’s goal to think globally while acting locally.”