Haas Park Community Scores with New State of the Art Soccer Field

October 12, 2012

CHICAGO, IL. (10 October 2012) – Today, hundreds of Chicago-area children celebrated the grand opening of the brand new UAE – Manchester City Field at Haas Park. The field was a gift to the community by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and Barclays English Premier League Champions Manchester City Football Club.  It is made with a very durable, year round composite material that kids can play on in most conditions.

chicago mayor high fives kids

The event was attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, Chicago Park District Chief Executive Officer Mike Kelly, Club Ambassador for Manchester City Football Club Mike Summerbee, Dr. Bryan Traubert and Penny Pritzker from the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, and many local Chicago officials.  

The UAE Embassy and Manchester City FC, through its “City Soccer in the Community” program, have teamed up to provide deserving children access to quality playing fields in US communities along with Manchester City’s award winning coaching and education programs. 

This is the fourth soccer field that the UAE Embassy and Manchester City FC have worked together to build and gift in the US. Earlier this year a field and program were established at The Hank Kline Boys & Girls Club in Miami, Florida and at Lexington Academy in Harlem, New York City. In the Fall of 2011, The Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles received a field at their facility, The Haas Park field was built in partnership with the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation’s “Take the Field” initiative.

Manchester City Football Club is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan – a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.  

As a part of the dedication, all guests at the event were invited to have their photographs taken next to the Barclays Premier League Trophy.  Manchester City FC captured the Premier League title this past May for the first time since 1968.  Also as part of the dedication, neighborhood youth engaged in soccer drills led by coaches from the City Soccer in the  Community program and Urban Initiatives, a health and education soccer program active in nearby Chicago Public Schools. 
“This is an outstanding facility that enhances not only Haas Park, but the entire community,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These investments right in our neighborhoods have a direct impact on families, giving our children a safe, state-of-the art place to play year-round, as well as a place where parents and neighbors can come together.”
mayor and kids holding up soccer kits
“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.

“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,” said Dr. Bryan Traubert, President, Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and President, Board of Commissioners, Chicago Park District. “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.” 
"Community has been at the heart of Manchester City FC since its foundation in 1880,” said Manchester City Football Club CEO, Ferran Soriano.  “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.” 

Over two years theTake the Field” initiative will have constructed 11 public artificial turf athletic fields located in underserved and geographically diverse Chicago parks.  Supported through private, public and philanthropic funds, the initiative promotes sports and fitness activities in Chicago communities.    Recognizing the importance of these fields to local communities, the Chicago Park District will waive permit fees during specific times throughout the week for youth and community groups that meet eligibility requirements.
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About Take the Field
The Take the Field initiative is led by the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and joins public and private resources to build 11 artificial turf athletic fields in underserved and geographically diverse Chicago parks. The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis for the new facilities to encourage community residents, particularly youth, to engage in sports and healthy activities. To date, over $13 million has been dedicated to the initiative thanks to its partners. Six fields were constructed last summer and five fields are scheduled to open by the end of 2012. For more information, visit www.ptffoudation.org
About The Chicago Park District 
Chicago Park District owns more than 8,100 acres of green space, and offers thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 77 indoor and outdoor pools and 26 miles of lakefront.
About Manchester City Football Club’s Social Responsibility
Manchester City FC was founded in 1880 by the family of Arthur Connell, the first rector of the newly consecrated St Mark’s Church in West Gorton. The family believed that football can create opportunities and a sense of community, a belief that remains at the heart of the Club to this day. Twenty-six years ago, MCFC was one of the first football clubs to set up a Community scheme, City in the Community. Each year, City in the Community works with over 200,000 people throughout Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on our local East Manchester community.
About The United Arab Emirates
The UAE is a source of stability, tolerance, innovation, and growth in the Arabian Gulf and around the globe. The United States and the UAE are reliable allies, with historical and present-day shared security and economic interests. In fact, the UAE is the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East and more US naval vessels visit UAE ports than any other port outside the United States.  The United States and the UAE also enjoy growing social and cultural ties, and many US institutions in education, healthcare and the arts have formed collaborative partnerships with UAE entities.  For more information: www.uae-embassy.org