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USYS Aug 24, 2020

Eastern New York Youth Soccer calls out NYC Parks and Rec for denying field permits

Over the weekend, the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) issued a strongly-worded statement and launched a petition against the New York City Parks and Recreation department’s decision to deny field permits for September.

Without field permits, soccer clubs throughout New York City will be unable to hold any organized soccer activities next month, delaying the start of their fall season. ENYYSA publicly condemned the decision, calling it “shortsighted” while citing the positive impact that youth soccer provides in the realm of “physical, mental and social-emotional health”.

The decision to deny field permits also came at a time when other businesses, such as restaurants, gyms and bowling alleys, have been able to re-open. As of Tuesday morning (Aug. 25), a petition on started by ENYYSA has gathered over 6,200 signatures, nearly reaching its goal of 7,500 in just a few days.

Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations for ENYYSA, released the following statement on behalf of the state association:

“The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and our member leagues decry the decision of New York City Parks and Recreation not to grant field permits for organized soccer activities for the kick-off of our Fall Season in September.

The e-mail that was sent from NYC Parks staff to permit applicants cited “health and safety concerns” as the reason for this decision. Yet, with park fields still open to the public—most with little or no enforcement of social distancing, masks or crowds— our programs provide the best way to ensure that children and teenagers can make safe, supervised use of the fields in a way that adheres to city, state and CDC guidelines plus crowd restrictions. Furthermore, the decision sends a startling message that the city will not permit outdoor youth recreational activities to return while bars, gyms, bowling alleys and museums can all reopen.

This shortsighted decision will have a potentially devastating impact on New York City’s children and teens, including their physical, mental and social-emotional health. In addition to helping youngsters maintain healthy lifestyles and learn important life skills, our programs also keep teens off the streets and engaged in positive activities with coach mentors and positive role models. In the midst of a global pandemic, an economic recession and a dramatic rise in the city’s gun violence, it has never been more important to support the health and well-being of the next generation.

Without permits to these fields, our organizations will be unable to offer soccer, leaving a devastating hole in the lives of tens of thousands of children and teenagers. We encourage all our members to sign this online petition to get organized soccer back in New York City parks:

We urge New York City Parks and Recreation to immediately reverse course and provide field permits to youth organizations in time for our Fall Season.”