New York City will be building and maintaining 50 football fields in the next five years to encourage healthier lifestyle, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
The announcement was made at the Millbrook Playground in the borough of Bronx, the site of one of first eight football fields to be built within a year.
The effort was part of the NYC Soccer Initiative, which will be developed in partnership between the city, U.S. football Foundation, the New York City Football Club and Adidas.
“Football is a great unifying force and a truly international sport,” said de Blasio. “In this most international of cities, football is one of the things that everyone understands.”
According to de Blasio, the public-private partnership was the first of its kind. The initiative will invest 3 million U.S. dollars to build soccer facilities, serving more than 10,000 young people in all five boroughs of the city.
“We are confident that some of these young people who will play on these pitches will become top-notch players and play at the highest level,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, the president of the U.S. Football Foundation.
Simeon said he also believed the football field will teach young people important life skills.
“All of them will be engaged with coaches who help them develop critical life skills like teamwork, discipline, leadership, how to win, how to lose, things that carry a person through life,” Simeon added.