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Season 2012/13

City and UAE break ground at new Washington DC pitch

  • 02 April 2013 16:30
  • Posted by @NieldyMCFC

One of the most heavily used playing fields in Washington, D.C. will get a complete makeover as part of a gift from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and the Manchester City Football Club, the current Barclays English Premier League Champions.

Located at the Marie-Reed Elementary School – in the heart of the District’s Adams Morgan neighborhood – the new state-of-the art, all-weather artificial turf field is expected to be completed this fall, in time for the start of the 2013/14 school year. 

In addition to the new playing field, Manchester City, whose lead sponsor is Etihad Airways, through its “City Soccer in the Community” program, will provide after-school soccer coaching for local children. To date, the UAE Embassy and Manchester City FC have teamed up to provide deserving children access to these quality programs in five US cities.

“I can’t imagine a better place for this new field, right here in the heart of Washington, DC,” said UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba at today’s groundbreaking ceremony. “Marie Reed Elementary School and this park are cornerstones of Adams Morgan, and we are excited to construct a field that will give kids more access to soccer and benefit the entire community.”

The DC Department of General Services (DGS) in partnership with DC Public Schools has also agreed to refurbish the  area surrounding the field, greatly improving the aesthetics and safety of the park.  This work will take place at the same time as the field’s construction.

“This will be a game-changer for our students and our school community”, said Principal Eugene Pinkard.  “The soccer field will transform our curriculum and make a valuable space into a world-class facility.”

The UAE Embassy and Manchester City have partnered to build soccer fields and provide youth training programs in five other US cities. In 2012, new fields were dedicated at Haas Park in Chicago, Illinois, The Hank Kline Boys & Girls Club in Miami, Florida and 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. 

"Since its foundation in 1894, community has been at the heart of City Football,” said Manchester City Football Club Chief Commercial and Operating Officer Tom Glick.  “City Football now delivers award winning schemes to hundreds of thousands of people in Manchester and have left lasting legacies for communities across the globe; from Africa and the Middle East to China and the US.

“City first visited the US in 2010 and the relationship with North American fans has grown year on year ever since. We believe  in US soccer and we know how much passion the fans in North America have for the beautiful game. The Club is committed to growing soccer participation and making sure fans know that they are at the core of City Football.”

Ambassador Al Otaiba, team and school officials were joined at the event by US Ambassador to the UAE Michael Corbin, DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray, UK Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Philip Barton, Anthony deGuzman, COO of DC Public Schools, Jesus’ Aguirre, Director of DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Brian Hanlon, Director of DC Department of General Services (DGS), and Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan.

Etihad Airways is a principal sponsor of Manchester City FC, and on March 31 inaugurated daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC and Abu Dhabi.

“Etihad Airways has a proud tradition of hosting grass roots sporting events with our partners Manchester City FC,” said James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways.   “The Etihad Airways Soccer Schools have helped the development of hundreds of children from a range of backgrounds in countries that include Nigeria, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. Therefore we’re delighted to continue this path and be part of the ground-breaking for the new field here in Adams Morgan in Washington DC which will give local youngsters the chance to play and excel at sport all year round.”

“This is a fantastic program which will help the next generation to play what we in Britain like to call ‘the beautiful game,” said Philip Barton, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Washington. “I am delighted to support the launch of the Marie H. Reed Community Learning Center Soccer Field today in Washington. It is a real treat to see Manchester City – winners of the English Premier League last year – and my colleagues at the UAE Embassy creating a great opportunity for children here in DC to play football, truly a GREAT British sport.”

This contribution by the UAE Embassy is the latest in a series of Washington, DC area partnerships and philanthropic community programs including the Sheikh Zayed Institute of Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center, the Joe’s Champs program to provide DC public school teacher training, and contributions and participation in Everybody Wins! DC – the leading organization that promotes children's literacy by pairing students with local reading mentors.

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