Premier League and EA SPORTS Team Up With U.S. Soccer Foundation to Create New Jersey Mini-Pitch
A new mini-pitch co-funded by the Premier League and its lead partner EA SPORTS was opened yesterday at Washington Elementary School in Kearny, New Jersey. Named the Kearny Futures Field, the project was made possible in conjunction with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Governor Phil Murphy and Kearny School District.
This represents the first collaborative pitch in North America between the Premier League and EA SPORTS FC and underlines the long-term commitment to provide community access to soccer across the globe.
The customized, hard-court surface, which was designed by local artist Demit Omphroy, was officially unveiled as the Premier League Summer Series pre-season tournament reaches New Jersey, with Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United facing each other at the Red Bull Arena on Friday night.
The new pitch opening was attended by a host of special guests including Brighton & Hove Albion and Newcastle United managers Roberto De Zerbi and Eddie Howe and players from both clubs. It forms part of a wide-ranging program of community activity taking place during the tournament and is the first permanent site the Premier League and EA SPORTS have created in the United States. This builds on the League’s longstanding commitment to invest in grassroots football facilities and extends to the EA SPORTS FC FUTURES initiative as a commitment to invest in community-level football on a global scale to grow the game for all.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “We are delighted to create a longstanding legacy in New Jersey by opening this new mini-pitch in partnership with EA SPORTS and the U.S. Soccer Foundation during our inaugural pre-season tour in the United States.
“We have already witnessed the incredible passion of American soccer fans in three East Coast cities during the tournament and we know how popular the sport is here in New Jersey. We can’t wait to witness that support at the Red Bull Arena, and to be able to provide a facility here which will have a huge impact on the lives of countless young people is a real honour.
“This reflects our longstanding commitment to investing in football at all levels and communities across England and Wales, and we look forward to developing more grassroots facilities and other community initiatives through our partnership with EA SPORTS.”
This mini-pitch is one of more than 600 that the U.S. Soccer Foundation has installed since 2015 as part of its mission to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that instil hope, foster well-being, and help youth achieve their fullest potential. The Foundation plans to install 1,000 mini-pitches by 2026.
“When it comes to soccer, there are few places more special than Kearny, New Jersey – the birthplace of American soccer,” said Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey. “Soccer builds community, breaks down barriers, and forges relationships across cultural and geographic bounds. I am grateful to our partners – the Premier League, EA Sports, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the Kearny School District – for their help in building this mini-pitch and creating a lasting legacy for our communities to enjoy.”
The EA SPORTS FC FUTURES initiative will build a publicly available library of training practices, produced in six languages, that will be available later this year for young players and community coaches to view online and use for their training plans. EA SPORTS will also provide community access to football by supporting the creation and refurbishment of pitches, facilitated and distributed through foundations, federations and leagues. Lastly, FC FUTURES will invest in grassroots training accessories which will deliver football equipment in the form of balls, bibs, cones and wider essential equipment.
Earlier this year, the Premier League joined forces with EA SPORTS to part-fund a state-of-the-art 3G football pitch at Turnham Academy in London. As part of the multi-year extension as lead partner of the Premier League, which was announced last week, the two organisations will work together on the creation of more community programmes, including school football initiatives and investment into grassroots facilities.
The New Jersey pitch opening also forms part of the Premier League’s and EA SPORTS FC FUTURES’ initiative for meaningful growth of community-led football with the purpose of growing the game for all.
“We’re already making an impact on community soccer around the world through EA SPORTS FC FUTURES, and we’re thrilled to work with partners like the Premier League and the US Soccer Foundation to now expand that to the United States,” said Cam Weber, President of EA SPORTS. “Youth soccer has such a strong presence in the U.S., and we’re committed to ensuring that players around the world have the opportunity to grow their love of the sport on the pitch.”
The new Kearny Futures Field mini-pitch builds on the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s work to provide young people in under-resourced communities the opportunity to play soccer in their neighbourhoods and improve their overall health and well-being.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Premier League and EA SPORTS on their first-ever mini-pitch in the United States.” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “This new mini-pitch will provide a new safe place for kids to play and builds on our work with the New York New Jersey 2026 World Cup Host Committee to use soccer to achieve positive outcomes for youth living in the region’s underserved communities. Together, we are using our game for lasting social impact.”
The Premier League and the six travelling clubs are delivering more than 100 hours of community activity across the five host cities during the Summer Series.
This includes community football coaching and life skills workshops delivered as part of the League’s education initiative Premier League Primary Stars, involving more than 400 children. There will also be programs focusing on grassroots and elite coach development, with registrations anticipated to exceed 500 aspiring and elite-level coaches, as well as referee development.