RWJBarnabas Health, Players Development Academy and City of New Brunswick Unveil Turf Soccer Field as Part of PDA Urban Initiative

SOURCE: RWJBarnabas Health

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Field at Kossuth Park Provides Boys and Girls from Urban Community Access to the Beautiful Game of Soccer; Project Aligns with RWJBarnabas Health’s Social Impact Priorities - Creating Healthier Communities

West Orange, NJ – April 27, 2021… RWJBarnabas Health, the Players Development Academy (PDA) and officials from the city of New Brunswick unveiled a new synthetic turf, small-sided soccer field on Wednesday, April 21st, in support of the PDA Urban Initiative.

The debut of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Field, featuring a 40x70 enclosed synthetic turf soccer field at Kossuth Park in New Brunswick, aligns with RWJBarnabas Health’s social impact and community investment priorities - to improve health outcomes, promote health equity, eliminate healthcare disparities, and create healthier communities.

The ceremonial “first kick” inlcuded Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health; James Cahill, Mayor, New Brunswick; Gerry McKeown Boys Coaching Director, PDA; Jack Morris, RWJUH Chairman of Board of Directors; Bill Arnold, Southern Region President & CEO and President and CEO, RWJUH; Keith Jones New Brunswick Director of Human and Community Services; Mariam Merced, Director, RWJUH Community Health Promotions, New Brunswick, and boys and girls from the local community. The field is located walking distance from RWJ University Hospital New Brunswick.

The PDA Urban Initiative, a collaboration between RWJBarnabas Health and PDA, provides premier small-sided turf soccer facilities along with coaching and playing opportunities to children living in underserved urban communities.

“The PDA Urban Initiative aligns with our social impact and community investment priorities and I’m thrilled we’re actively part of the solution when social determinants impact the health and vitality of the communities we serve,” said Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer at RWJBarnabas Health. “This type of project, beyond the walls of our hospitals, underpins our commitment to elevate our role in more vulnerable neighborhoods, as we work diligently to help change health outcomes and create healthier communities.”

PDA Urban Initiative is designed to keep boys and girls healthy and active, while helping to change the landscape of soccer in the US by creating greater socio-economic diversity on the field. New programming will help identify and progress talented young boys and girls that may not have the necessary resources to participate in travel soccer programs that require a financial commitment, transportation, and other factors.

“By establishing these turf fields in urban communities, we are bringing the best of the beautiful game to boys and girls that need our support,” said Gerry McKeown, Boys Coaching Director, PDA. “We hope this initiative sparks greater interest in the game, leading to more opportunities for kids from diverse backgrounds, while also serving as a distraction to the negative influences in their neighborhoods.”

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Community Field at Kossuth Park joins the recent Joyce Kilmer Park turf field project, with the city of New Brunswick at the forefront of this important community initiative. Plans for the creation of additional small-side turf fields in New Jersey will be announced in the coming months.

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About RWJBarnabas Health

RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic health care system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH  in New Brunswick, RWJUH  Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH  Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable care organization. 

PDA Urban Initiative

Based in Somerset County, PDA is a is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to the promotion and development of youth soccer in New Jersey.  By bringing fields to underserved areas, the PDA Urban Initiative will bring the game of soccer to players in communities that lack the financial resources /opportunities to play.  Soccer in the US has been inaccessible to many children living in urban areas; as such, it is predominantly enjoyed by those who have the resources to participate. More fields will lead to more players and more possibilities. The sport is sure to evolve and elevate.


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