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Season 2012/13

City and UAE open new Chicago football complex

  • 11 October 2012 22:00
  • Posted by Mark Booth

City's worldwide commitment to helping youngsters access football and its community benefits has reached the American Midwest.

The Blues in conjunction with UAE Embassy opened a new first-class football pitch at Haas Park, Chicago as part of the City Soccer in the Community Program (sic).

UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel and executives and personnel from the club, the City of Chicago and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation were in attendance to celebrate the opening of the pitch at a special ceremony.

They were joined by City legend and Ambassador Mike Summerbee.

Built in partnership with the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation’s “Take the Field Initiative” and the Chicago Park District, this new facility will benefit the entire Haas Park Community in Chicago.

The Embassy and Manchester City have teamed up to provide deserving children access to quality playing fields in US communities along with Manchester City’s award winning and completely free coaching and education programmes.

The City Soccer in the Community (CSITC) scheme will now provide ongoing support and coaching.

haas park chicago city pitch

This is the fourth football pitch that the UAE Embassy and Manchester City have worked together to build and gift in the US

In the Summer of 2010, the organisations teamed up to dedicate a roof-top field at Lexington Academy school in Spanish Harlem, New York City, and in the autumn of 2011, The Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles were given a new pitch at their facility.  In March this year it was Miami's Hank Kline Club that benefitted.

They have acted as models to bring soccer programming and facilities to additional US cities around the country like Chicago.

“We are delighted to bring world-class soccer facilities to the Haas Park community today,” said Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States. 

“Establishing a first-rate field here in Chicago, along with Manchester City’s commitment to a long-term coaching program will positively impact the lives of many kids in this area,” he said.

“We’re excited to be here today in celebration of the Take the Field initiative, which is a project that brought together foundations and private funders. 

"Together, these partners made it possible to build new artificial turf fields for underserved communities,” said Michael Kelly, CEO of the Chicago Park District."

Dr. Bryan Traubert, President, Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and President, Board of Commissioners, Chicago Park District added: “My wife Penny Pritzker and I started the Take the Field initiative last year to attract private dollars to invest in the future health outcomes of our city’s youth through constructing state-of-the-art artificial turf fields in neighborhood parks in need.

“We are thrilled that the six fields built last summer are in high demand by the community, and we are thankful for the partnership of the Chicago Park District and Manchester City to build this exciting new field in Haas Park.” 

chicago pitch

Manchester City Football Club CEO, Ferran Soriano said: "Community has been at the heart of Manchester City FC since its foundation in 1880. 

"Twenty-six years ago the Club founded 'City in the Community', designed to support those with the greatest need in the city of Manchester. Fast forward to 2012 and Manchester City FC, now working with 200,000 people in our local area, have left lasting legacies for communities across the globe; from Africa and the Middle East to China and the US.”

More information about this initiative can be found at http://www.city-soccer.org.

The Chicago opening forms part of  City in the Community's multi-sport month. For the rest of October we’ll be sharing the stories of young people involved in our community football and multi-sports programmes.

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