|Provided by Red Bulls.|
The Red Bulls, Newark Public Schools, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation unveiled a new initiative yesterday aimed at dramatically increasing access to safe places to play and evidence-based soccer programs at Newark Public Schools.
Over the next five years, the partners will build 20 mini-soccer courts, called mini-pitches, and engage more than 2,500 Newark students in Soccer for Success, the U.S. Soccer Foundation's after-school soccer program that delivers positive health and youth development outcomes.
This commitment by the City of Newark, Newark Public Schools and the Red Bulls marks the latest development in the U.S Soccer Foundation's It's Everyone's Game national movement to ensure children in underserved communities enjoy the health and youth development benefits of the game.
"This is a very proud day for our entire organization," said Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlett. "Along with our partners, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Newark Public Schools, we are committed to providing secure mini-pitches along with youth soccer development programming for the children of Newark, just blocks away from Red Bull Arena."
"Creating safe places for young people to play is a high priority of my administration," Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said. "The partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the New York Red Bulls moves that ball forward while encouraging many more of our students to participate in soccer, a sport which contributes to their health and development. I am confident that future soccer stars from Newark will result from this initiative."
"I want to thank the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the New York Red Bulls for their commitment to this exciting partnership," shared incoming Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Roger Leon. "We know that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are an important part of how our students learn and grow. Thanks to this partnership, thousands of Newark students will have better access to programs and spaces that will help them enjoy the health and developmental benefits of playing Soccer."
"We are excited to partner with the City of Newark, Newark Public Schools and the New York Red Bulls to ensure more children have access safe places to play and proven soccer programming that supports their development on and off the pitch," said Ed Foster-Simeon, president & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. "Sport is an essential component of any healthy community, and this initiative will make soccer more accessible to the Newark community. It will also provide more opportunities for children to have a safe place to play after-school and connect with caring coach-mentors trained in transforming young lives."
Newark is the third municipality nationwide to make a major commitment to building safe places to play and expanding sports-based youth development programs for its youth. The City of Chicago announced in December that it would build 50 mini-pitches over five years and increase access to sports-based youth development programming. Additionally, the City of New York recently opened the first 10 of 50 mini-pitches as part of a public-private partnership to build and maintain fields in underserved areas.
As part of It's Everyone's Game, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has set the goal to engage one million children annually in Soccer for Success and build 1,000 safe places to play with partners by 2026. For more information on the movement, how to stay updated, and ways to get involved, visit itseveryonesgame.org.