As thousands gathered in Lower Manhattan to cheer on the U.S. women’s soccer team on Wednesday morning, some local soccer upstarts shared the spotlight during the festivities. The girls varsity team from Hell’s Kitchen’s Beacon High School, recent Public School Athletic League champs, stood on the steps of City Hall with the world champions.
None of the players on the U.S. Women’s team grew up in the city, though there were two Long Islanders (defender Crystal Dunn, from Rockville Center, and midfielder Allie Long, from Northport). But maybe the next generation of the team’s stars will hail from here.
Localize.city, a home search platform that includes information about nearby parks as well as park construction/renovation projects, put together a list of neighborhoods where there are new or soon-to-be-built soccer fields that might become the training grounds for future soccer stars.
“It’s a real gift that New York City kids can walk or bike to their local soccer fields and spend hours perfecting their Megan Rapinoe-like penalty kicks,” Localize.city urban planner Grace Klein.
> Astoria, Queens
A new soccer field at Astoria Park, part of a $30 million overhaul, is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. The synthetic turf field, which will replace a heavily used patchy grass field is sure to be a soccer hub.
> Brownsville, Brooklyn
The $30 million renovation of Betsy Head Park includes replacing dust bowl fields with synthetic turf for soccer as well as football and lacrosse. Construction should begin next summer and wrap up in 2021.
> Lower East Side, Manhattan
The no-frills Baruch Playground (at Baruch Pl. and Mangin St.) is getting a new synthetic turf by April 2020, according to the Parks Department. The neighborhood already has other new soccer fields, including those at East River Park (which may be torn up and raised to protect against future floods) and the Nike Field at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, which re-opened in 2015 with a new surfaced provided by the famed athletic-wear company.
> Prince’s Bay, Staten Island
A $3.34 million project to reconstruct Bloomingdale Park’s existing turf soccer field and add a new synthetic multi-purpose field is expected to wrap up by November 2020, according to the Park Department. The park is a hub for soccer leagues in the borough.
> Soundview, Bronx
A $3.4 million renovation will completely replace the park’s rundown field with a synthetic turf soccer field as well as two new baseball fields and more. The field is expected to open next month.
> Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Bush Terminal Park’s soccer fields, which opened nearly five years ago, are among the borough’s best kept secrets, tucked away between the waterfront and old industrial buildings. Socceroof, which opened nearby in November, offers 10 indoor fields (and a rooftop bar). The space has attracted leagues and tournaments, as well as pick-up games. While it is a privately run facility, the founders have said they want to include low-income kids, and it’s reportedly home to the Brooklyn Crew, a team of teens from Red Hook whose families can no longer afford pricey youth programs
> Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn
McCarren Park’s new artificial turf soccer field, which opened earlier this year, is a popular spot for neighborhood players, young and old. Soccer leagues have also flocked to nearby Bushwick Inlet Park, which will continue to expand along the East River waterfront and eventually include youth soccer fields.