The Chicago Fire Soccer Club and President Julian Posada joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District Superintendent Mike Kelly, Bryan Traubert from the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Ed Simeon-Foster, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation and hundreds of Chicago-area children, a consortium of public-private donors and elected officials to celebrate the grand opening of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club Field on Pasteur Park (5825 South Kostner Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60629) on Saturday, Nov. 5.
“I’d like to thank Andrew and Ellen Hauptman, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation for helping us create this outstanding facility and for their longtime support of the City’s park programs and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The field will be used by area youth athletic programs, schools and soccer leagues and enjoyed by West Lawn neighborhood residents for years to come.”
The Take the Field initiative joins public and private resources to build 10 artificial turf athletic fields throughout the City of Chicago, three of which open today.
“The Take the Field initiative is a tremendous gift to the entire City of Chicago and we are proud to join Bryan Traubert and Penny Pritzker in supporting such a groundbreaking community endeavor,” said Chicago Fire Soccer Club owner Andrew Hauptman. “Our sport and our community intersect on so many levels and we hope the approximately 650,000 youth and adults who currently play soccer in the Chicagoland area will have a chance to experience this new field, and come out to meet the Chicago Fire players on the pitch throughout the year.”
Posada was joined in attendance by Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause and Fire midfielders Michael Videira and Corben Bone.
The celebrations included soccer clinics hosted by the Urban Initiatives soccer program at Humboldt and Cornell Square Parks.
Over the next three years “Take the Field” will result in the construction of 10 public artificial turf athletic fields located in underserved and geographically diverse Chicago parks. Supported through private and foundation funds, the initiative will enable all fields to be built privately. 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.
Each athletic field will feature an all-weather surface and lighting that will allow the field to be used nine months out of the year. At least three of the fields will be lined for both soccer and football.
The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis. To date, $7.9 million has been dedicated to the program thanks to its partners.
In addition to those fields opening Saturday, fields at Humboldt Park (Allstate), Cornell Square Park (Teach for America) and Jackson Park (Chicago Bears) were opened on October 15. Planning for phase two sites will begin in 2012 and includes Abbott Park, 49 E. 95th St.; Davis Square Park, 4430 S. Marshfield Ave.; Dunbar Park, 300 E. 31st St.; and Rowan Park, 11546 S. Avenue L.