Today hundreds of children in Chicago 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 Manchester City Football Club.
The event was attended by Mike Summerbee, Club Ambassador for Manchester City Football Club, the mayor of Chicago, the UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, Chicago Park District Chief Executive Officer Mike Kelly, Dr. Bryan Traubert and Penny Pritzker from the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, and many local Chicago officials.
The UAE Embassy and Manchester City, through its “City Soccer in the Community” programme, 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 programmes.
This is the fourth football pitch that the UAE Embassy and Manchester City have worked together to build in 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 Autumn 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.
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 captured the Premier League title earlier this month for the first time since 1968.
“I’d like to thank the UAE Embassy, Manchester City Football Club, and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation for helping us create this outstanding facility and for their support of the City’s park programs and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The field will be used by the Haas Park community and neighborhood residents for years to come.”
“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 the “Take 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.