PHILADELPHIA (August 10, 2021) – Today, Mayor Kenney joined the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, City officials and community members to celebrate the opening of the renovated athletic courts and one brand new soccer mini-pitch at Francis J. Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia.
A part of the City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative, an historic investment in public spaces, this first phase of the F.J. Myers Recreation Center project represents a transformational partnership between the City, the Philadelphia Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to expand the impact of Rebuild investments. Together, the Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer committed more than one million dollars to build 15 mini soccer pitches and two full-size signature fields across Philadelphia, further nurturing Philadelphia’s great appreciation for soccer.
“When we first announced the Rebuild Initiative, we knew it would invigorate the Philadelphia community to join us in supporting vital public spaces,” said Mayor Kenney. “The new soccer mini-pitch and renovated athletic courts are a shining example of what shared investment accomplishes. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and the Philadelphia Union Foundation are exemplary organizations that responded to the call to join us in ensuring the children of Philadelphia have state of the art spaces to play and grow.”
“As we are committed to growing the game of soccer for all children in Philadelphia, it’s paramount to build new fields and safe spaces to play. Our vision is to provide first class facilities and opportunity. The City, Rebuild and the Philadelphia Union Foundation have been great partners in executing this vision,” said Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer.
“The Philadelphia Union Foundation is committed to building safe spaces to play soccer throughout the Philadelphia region. Above all else, we will ensure proper programming and coaching at these sites starting at F.J. Myers Recreation Center,” said Paul Howard, Executive Director, Philadelphia Union Foundation. “Alongside our dedicated community partners, we will provide more young Philadelphians access to the beautiful game than ever before.”
Totaling nearly $350,000 in investment, Phase 1 of the F.J. Myers Rebuild Project includes:
● A brand new, state-of-the-art mini pitch boasting a mural by Calo Rosa entitled “Unity Chant” in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia
● Renovated tennis courts with new nets and fencing
● Updated, repainted and lined basketball courts with new backboards and rims
“Today’s ribbon cutting not only celebrates the opening of the athletic courts at F.J. Myers, but also expands our shared excitement for Phase 2 of this project. We and the F.J. Myers community look forward to even more improvements coming to the rest of the site including the recreation center, spray ground, and athletic fields,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “We’re excited to fulfill the promise of Rebuild to meaningfully engage the community and invest intentionally at this incredible site.”
“The citizens of the Francis J. Myers Recreation Center community in Southwest Philadelphia have long deserved the improvements that the Rebuild initiative made possible,” said City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), who represents the Francis Myers Recreation Center in City Council. “The first phase of these renovations will give neighbors a place to come together, recreate and thrive. I look forward to the community continuing to engage in the design of the next phase of this project.”
“We are so pleased with the incredible new amenities now available to the community here at F.J. Myers,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “New outdoor courts and fields are in demand in South West Philly and across the City. Partnerships like this allow our Parks & Rec system to better support local youth athletics programs and meet the growing demand for more places to play, learn, and grow right here in the City.”
The City of Philadelphia through Rebuild is excited to continue community engagement as phase two of the project takes shape. For more information on this and other Rebuild projects visit rebuild.phila.gov.
REBUILD is a historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of its people through stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways, and management of 500 recreation buildings, 166 miles of trail, and 250 playgrounds. PPR offers safe, enjoyable recreation, environmental and cultural programs and events throughout Philadelphia’s parks and recreation system. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. In 2017, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell, set about implementing the park system’s first strategic plan: Our Path to 2020 and Beyond. As a result, PPR is undertaking a period of historic change, setting the department on a course to become a modern, equitable and exceptional parks and recreation system. Visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The Philadelphia Union Foundation’s mission is to build safe spaces for all to play soccer and provide under-served communities with access to soccer and related youth programming. PUF expects to contribute to the growth of the beautiful game in Chester, PA, Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. In 2019, the Foundation brought soccer back to the young women and men of Chester High School for the first time in thirty years by fully funding a varsity and junior varsity soccer program. In addition, PUF and the City of Philadelphia have partnered to build fifteen mini-pitches and two full-sized signature fields in the inner-city. Both projects mark a realization of the Foundation’s commitment to leveraging the power of soccer to create opportunities and to transform lives. For more information about the Philadelphia Union Foundation, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com/foundation. For donations, visit www.phlunionfoundation.org.
Since 1972, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has worked throughout Eastern Pennsylvania to promote, foster, and perpetuate the game of soccer to the region’s youth. Through competitions, educational programs, outreach efforts and coaching clinics, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer impacts the lives of more than 120,000 youth soccer players from ages 5 to 19. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is one of 55 state associations in US Youth Soccer and a member of the United States Soccer Federation. Additional information about Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer can be found at www.EPYSA.org.