October 11, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Celebrates Grand Opening of New State of the Art Soccer Field at Haas Park

New Artificial Turf Field will Improve Youth Athletic and After-School Programs for Chicago Community; UAE Embassy in Washington, DC, English Premier League Champions Manchester City and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation Creates Year-Round Playing Field and Training Program for Local Kids

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today Mayor Emanuel joined Chicago-area children to celebrate the grand opening of the brand new UAE – Manchester City Field at Haas Park. The field was a gift to the community made in partnership by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Washington, DC, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and Barclays English Premier League Champions Manchester City.  The field is made with a very durable, year round composite material that kids can play on in most conditions.

“This is an outstanding facility that enhances not only Haas Park, but the entire community,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These investments right in our neighborhoods have a direct impact on families, giving our children a safe, state-of-the art place to play year-round, as well as a place where parents and neighbors can come together.”

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States, 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 joined Mayor Emanuel and hundreds of children to celebrate the opening of the field.

The UAE Embassy and Manchester City, through its “City Soccer in the Community” program, 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 programs.  This is the fourth soccer field that the UAE Embassy and Manchester City have worked together to build and gift in the 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 Fall 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.

Manchester City Football Club is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan – a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.  "The Haas Park community deserves this and it proves the benefits of hard work and community involvement. Words can't express my gratitude and excitement about this project,” added Alderman Joe Moreno (1st Ward).

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 this past May for the first time since 1968.

“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 1894,” 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 Greater Manchester, 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.

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About Take the Field

The Take the Field initiative is led by the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and joins public and private resources to build 11 artificial turf athletic fields in underserved and geographically diverse Chicago parks. The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis for the new facilities to encourage community residents, particularly youth, to engage in sports and healthy activities. To date, over $13 million has been dedicated to the initiative thanks to its partners. Six fields were constructed last summer and five fields are scheduled to open by the end of 2012. For more information, visit www.ptffoudation.org.

About The Chicago Park District

Chicago Park District owns more than 8,100 acres of green space, and offers thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 77 indoor and outdoor pools and 26 miles of lakefront.

About Manchester City’s Social Responsibility

Manchester City FC was founded in 1880 by the family of Arthur Connell, the first rector of the newly consecrated St Mark’s Church in West Gorton. The family believed that football can create opportunities and a sense of community, a belief that remains at the heart of the Club to this day. 25 years ago, MCFC was one of the first football clubs to set up a Community scheme, City in the Community. Each year, City in the Community works with over 200,000 people throughout Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on our local East Manchester community. 
In recent years, the Club has taken its CSR programme to an international audience, creating community opportunities in the USA and the United Arab Emirates. Manchester City has been supporting its communities for over 130 years and, to this day, still aims to leave a lasting and significant legacy in all the communities which it touches.
About The United Arab Emirates

The UAE is a source of stability, tolerance, innovation, and growth in the Arabian Gulf and around the globe. The United States and the UAE are reliable allies, with historical and present-day shared security and economic interests. In fact, the UAE is the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East and more US naval vessels visit UAE ports than any other port outside the United States.  The United States and the UAE also enjoy growing social and cultural ties, and many US institutions in education, healthcare and the arts have formed collaborative partnerships with UAE entities.  For more information: www.uae-embassy.org.