PHILADELPHIA (November 16, 2021) – Today, Mayor Kenney joined the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st district), City officials, and community members to break ground on the Rebuild project at Capitolo Playground Fields.
The City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild Initiative is an historic investment in public spaces, and this second phase of the Capitolo Playground project is birthed out of 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. Capitolo Playground will receive one of those mini-pitches.
“Thousands of Philadelphians use Capitolo Playground and its field every week and investing in this site is an investment in the neighbors and community that surround it,” said Mayor Kenney. “Today’s groundbreaking kicks off construction on much needed and deserved improvements at Capitolo Playground and I can’t wait to come back to cut the ribbon.”
“Capitolo has been the heart of this South Philadelphia community for decades. From Italian baseball players to Mexican soccer players, generations of multicultural Philadelphians have enjoyed the ball fields, playgrounds, and gardens,” said Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st district). “The improvements to this gem are necessary so that future Philadelphians continue to play in this city oasis.”
Totaling over $1 million in investment, Phase 2 of the Capitolo Playground Fields Project:
A brand new, state-of-the-art mini pitch for soccer
Regraded and uplifted athletic fields
Additional shade trees and picnic table seating along Passyunk Avenue
Improvements to fencing along the community garden
Creation of an ADA accessible entrance at 10th & Wharton Streets
New bleacher and team benches for spectators and players
“Rebuild’s promise to communities acknowledges the unique history at each of our sites. Here at Capitolo, the vibrant culture of soccer shines bright,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “When it came time to invest in the fields, we were overjoyed by the level of passion neighbors and residents had towards supporting this project.”
“It’s our mission to grow the game of soccer, and it’s our privilege to work with the City and the Philadelphia Union to build these mini-pitches,” said Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “The children of this community, and those of our future sites, deserve to have well maintained and safe fields to play on. This field will provide for great fun, fitness and friendships.”
“The Philadelphia Union Foundation is proud to help build another safe place for children and families to play soccer,” said Hayes Hunt, Board Chairman, Philadelphia Union Foundation. “Today’s groundbreaking at Capitolo Playground is part of the Foundation’s long-term commitment to develop soccer pitches throughout Philadelphia.”
“Just looking around the crowd at Capitolo, I am reminded that Philadelphia youth sports are a lifeline to thousands of kids, built by an incredible network of volunteers,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner for Parks and Recreation. “But too many leagues face a shortage of quality field space. Investments like this provide the quality sports facilities our coaches and communities so desperately need. Thanks to Rebuild, the Union, and Eastern PA Youth Soccer for giving young people new places to play.”
Construction on the improvements at Capitolo fields is anticipated to wrap up in Spring of 2022.
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.