NEW YORK CITY (6 June 2012) — Today, students, community members, local New York City officials, leaders from Manchester City Football Club and diplomats from the United Arab Emirates (UAE Embassy) celebrated the dedication of an enclosed soccer field located on the roof of P.S. 72 Lexington Academy in East Harlem.
Manchester City Football Club & UAE Embassy open soccer field on six-story rooftop of Harlem’s Lexington Academy elementary school
Club will display their first Barclays Premier League Trophy in 44 years
The field was a gift to the Lexington Academy by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC and Manchester City Football Club. The initiative is part of the Embassy’s partnership with the English Premier League soccer team which first began when the Team toured the United States in the Summer of 2010.
The year-round facility is the first-of-its-kind in Manhattan, and will be for the exclusive use of the elementary school and its students Construction on the field began in 2010. Since then, the students at Lexington Academy have been receiving Manchester City’s award winning coaching and education programs on a daily basis. The UAE Embassy and Manchester City have teamed up to provide deserving children access to quality playing fields in US communities along with Manchester City’s world-class coaching and education programs. Fresh off winning its first English Premier League title in 44 years, Manchester City Football Club is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan – a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, Paul Lake, Manchester City’s City in the community Club Ambassador, and hundreds of kids were in attendance to celebrate the opening of the field this morning.
“This has been a tremendous addition to our school and our students,” said Anthony Hernandez, Principal at Lexington Academy. “We thank Manchester City and the UAE Embassy for providing access to such quality coaching and programming on a daily basis. It is an incredible asset for our kids in and out of the classroom.”
“We are delighted to be a part of providing this world-class facility to these special kids here at Lexington Academy,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “All kids deserve access to quality, safe playing fields and we love being able to be just a small part of what happens at this terrific school every day.”
The City Soccer in the Community (CSITC) program will provide ongoing support, coaching and quality programming for this community field in the years ahead. City Soccer in the Community Executive Director Paul Jeffries said, “We have been working with Principal Hernandez and this entire community for almost two years now, and have seen how soccer can make a difference in the lives of these kids. This program is really a flagship effort that we will replicate across the United States.”
All guests at the event were invited to have their photographs taken next to the Barclays Premier League Trophy. Manchester City captured the Premier League title earlier this month for the first time since 1968.
This is the third soccer field that the UAE Embassy and Manchester City have worked together to build and gift in the US. In the Fall of 2011, The Boys & Girls Club of East Los Angeles received a field at their facility, and earlier this year a field and program were established at The Hank Kline Boys & Girls Club in Miami, Florida. A fourth program is planned for Chicago in the fall of 2012.
About Manchester City’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. 25 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.
In recent years, the Club has taken its CSR program to an international audience, creating community opportunities in the USA and the United Arab Emirates. Manchester City has been supporting its communities for over 130 years and, to this day, still aims to leave a lasting and significant legacy in all the communities which it touches.
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.