By Eric Kiefer
NEWARK, NJ — The New York Red Bulls, Newark Public Schools and the U.S. Soccer Foundation recently unveiled a new initiative aimed at increasing access to safe places to play and evidence-based soccer programs in the Brick City.
According to a statement from the Red Bulls, over the next five years, the partners will build 20 mini-soccer courts (also known as “mini-pitches”) and engage more than 2,500 Newark students as part of Soccer for Success, the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s after-school soccer program that aims to deliver positive health and youth development outcomes.
The teamwork by the City of Newark, Newark Public Schools and the New York 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, the organizations said.
“This is a very proud day for our entire organization,” said Denis Hamlett, Sporting Director, New York Red Bulls. “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,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “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.”
“We know that physical activity and healthy lifestyles are an important part of how our students learn and grow,” incoming Superintendent of Newark Public Schools Roger Leon said. “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.”