Great Day For Soccer in Harlem
By: Nanette Posman
Everyone in attendance at the official opening of Harlem’s newest soccer field at 145th Street and Riverside Drive agreed it was a great day for the kids who belong to FC Harlem. FC Harlem is a community youth development organization that believes sports and education can be powerful vehicles for social change and great for the whole community.
It took the support of multiple key players to bring the idea to fruition. Time Warner Cable Sports, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Soccer Channel, U.S. Soccer Foundation, FC Harlem and the NYC Department of Environmental Protection all played a role in the mission to transform a vacant, unused lot into a beautiful field that will provide local kids with a safe retreat to enjoy fun and healthy recreation in their neighborhood.
The field revitalization is part of a larger initiative called Operation Community Cup, a project forged by the partnership of Time Warner Cable Sports and Fox Soccer Plus. Plans are currently in the works to revitalize soccer fields in Los Angeles and Columbus.
Joining us for opening day festivities were New York Red Bulls players Tim Ream and Carl Robinson who conducted a special clinic for kids from FC Harlem, Police Athletic League (PAL) and Harlem’s Children Zone, who were invited to initiate the new field. Both players mesmerized the kids with their impressive moves, answered questions, posed for photos and signed autographs.
To drive home the point that math is very much a part of the game, Time Warner Cable lined the field with illustrations of triangles, acute, obtuse and right angles, all demonstrating how each of these angles are executed on the soccer field. It was pretty remarkable to watch the kids clamoring for the chance to trace geometric angles on the poster boards.
Aside from the aesthetic and recreational benefits, the new field will also provide an important environmental function. It’s designed to capture storm water that will be absorbed into the ground. A local artist unveiled a mural capturing the spirit of the new space to mark the grand opening, too.
In his remarks following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, FC Harlem Executive Director Irv Smalls reiterated the PAL philosophy that ‘before kids can go places, they need a place to go.’ On a banner hanging behind the bleachers, parents shared their own thoughts. One parent wrote, “Thank you for supporting our community and caring about our kids.”
It was our pleasure!