NYCFC, UAE Consulate General Join South Bronx Soccer Festival

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Celebration Brings Community Together and Empowers Local Youth

On Saturday, New York City Football Club (NYCFC) and the Consulate General of the United Arab Emirates in New York came together to host a street soccer festival at P.S. 49 in the South Bronx.

The festival was held to bring together the community and nurture the street soccer culture that has grown organically in the South Bronx and throughout the borough. Known for its unstructured games and creative play, street soccer is played in streets and sandlots across the world. The event was​ organized through “City in the Community (CITC),” the charity proudly supported by NYCFC, and ​was​ sponsored by Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC).

“Our Club is rooted in the five boroughs and we play home games at Yankee Stadium; the Bronx is home turf for us and we are committed to getting behind this community,” said Jon Patricof, President of New York City FC. “This festival continues our shared mission to expand access to free soccer in New York City and bring together the community through our sport.”

NYCFC_UAE-1Participants faced off in five-on-five round-robin tournaments on the blue mini-pitch at P.S. 49 that NYCFC and its partners constructed last fall. The festival was capped off by “celebrity games” with players from New York City agencies – including New York City Police Department (NYPD), New York City Fire Department (FDNY), NYC Parks, and the New York City’s Mayor’s Office.​

“The street soccer festival is special to the UAE not only because of the positive effects it has on the South Bronx community, but also because Emiratis share a strong passion for soccer. Our goal is to inspire children and encourage leadership and collaboration. It’s great to see those values come together today at the festival,” said His Excellency Majid Al-Suwaidi, UAE Consul General in New York.

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“We’re proud to support the South Bronx street soccer festival and engage youth through the power of sports,” said Ahmed Al Qubaisi, Marketing and Communication Director at ADSC.

The Abu Dhabi Sports Council is dedicated to supporting sports-based youth development programs worldwide that benefit local communities, empower youth and promote healthy living,

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The street soccer festival aims to promote cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and UAE, and expands on previous work done by the UAE Embassy in Washington, D.C., in partnership with NYCFC and CITC, to build soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods. In 2012, the UAE Embassy and City Football Group, the majority owner of NYCFC, unveiled a rooftop soccer field at P.S. 72 Lexington Academy in East Harlem, the first of its kind in New York City. Today, the program at P.S. 72 is organized and managed by CITC and serves over 250 kids each week through after-school programs, promoting healthy eating and physical exercise.

Special guests included NYCFC h​ead ​c​oach Patrick Vieira, ​NYCFC defender Alexander Callens, ​and NYCFC midfielder John Stertzer, along with Jordanian soccer freestyler Motaz Al Qawasmi​ ​and Tim Brodahegn, Captain of The Good Life FC Bowery Premier League team.

Since 2010, the UAE has supported a nationwide community soccer field program that partners with local organizations to provide quality playing fields in communities across the United States. Currently, there are ten soccer fields with two in New York City and fields in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Atlantic City, Asbury Park, Cleveland and Washington, D.C.

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