Mayor Kenney was joined by Paul Howard of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Chris Branscome of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer, Council member Mark Squilla (1st district), Sheila Hess, City Official, and community members to cut the ribbon on the Rebuild project at Capitolo Playground Fields in South Philadelphia.

The City of Philadelphia’s Rebuild initiative is an investment in public spaces, and this phase of the Capitolo Playground project came from a partnership between the City, the Philadelphia Union Foundation, and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer to multiply the impact of Rebuild investments. Together, the Union Foundation and Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer committed more than one million dollars to build 15 mini-pitches, (a “pitch” is soccer fields for those not up on the lingo) and two full-size signature fields in locations across Philadelphia, further nurturing Philadelphia’s great appreciation for soccer. Capitolo Playground recieved on of those pitches in the heart of beautiful South Philadelphia a soccer kick away from historic Pat’s and Geno’s.

“There’s no greater example of Philadelphia’s love of soccer than right here at Capitolo Playground,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Week after week thousands of athletes from all backgrounds come to compete and have fun. These improvements will celebrate and support this tradition, and serve the incredible South Philadelphia community for years to come.”

Catch Phang and his buddies from Capitolo Playground on Weekend Philler on PHL17!

“I am so excited that the Capitolo field is now open for our youth and community members to use and enjoy,” said Councilmember Mark Squilla .  “I thank all the stakeholders – Passyunk Square Civic Association members, the Capitolo Advisory Council and Friends Group. Together, we worked on a project that improved Capitolo as our neighborhood gem.  We will continue to collaborate on maintaining the facility for future generations.”

The project itself included

  • A brand new, state-of-the-art mini-pitch for soccer
  • Regraded and uplifted athletic fields including two new youth soccer fields
  • Additional shade trees and outdoor gathering areas with ADA-accessible seating along Passyunk Avenue
  • Improvements to fencing along the community garden
  • Creation of an ADA-accessible entrance at 10th & Wharton Streets
  • New bleacher and team benches for spectators and players
  • New yard hydrants for irrigation

“Rebuild’s promise to communities acknowledges the unique history at each of our sites.  Here at Capitolo, the vibrant culture of sports, especially soccer, is electrifying,” said Kira Strong, Executive Director of Rebuild. “Many thanks to the neighbors, teams, and youth who helped guide this project to where we are today.”

“As a Philadelphian, seeing the city, the city that I love, invest in our public spaces, I find it critically important. This is where kids and families can come and have a clean safe and fun place to play,” said Raymond Smeriglio, Chief of Staff, City of Philadelphia, Rebuild Initiative.

“It’s our mission to grow the game of soccer, and it’s our privilege to work with the City and the Philadelphia Union to build these mini-pitches,” said Chris Branscome, CEO of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer. “The children of this community, and those of our future sites, deserve to have well-maintained and safe fields to play on. This field will provide for great fun, fitness, and friendships.”

“Wouldn’t it be great, just great, if the next Philadelphia homegrown superstar comes from right here in South Philly…and they can say they honed their skills on the Capitolo playground,” said Paul Howard, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Union Foundation.

This summer alone, Rebuild will break ground or cut the ribbon on over $30 million worth of projects throughout Philadelphia.

By: Tony Romeo / Weekend Philler Producer/Host
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Rebuild is a historic investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries across Philadelphia. Proposed in Mayor Jim Kenney’s first budget as a part of his vision for a more equitable Philadelphia, Rebuild’s promise to acknowledge history, engage the community and invest intentionally seeks to uplift pivotal community spaces, empower neighborhoods, and promote economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion.


The Philadelphia Union Foundation’s mission is to build safe spaces for all to play soccer and provide under-served communities with access to soccer and related youth programming.  PUF expects to contribute to the growth of the beautiful game in Chester, PA, Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. In 2019, the Foundation brought soccer back to the young women and men of Chester High School for the first time in thirty years by fully funding a varsity and junior varsity soccer program. In addition, PUF and the City of Philadelphia have partnered to build fifteen mini-pitches and two full-sized signature fields in the inner-city. Both projects mark a realization of the Foundation’s commitment to leveraging the power of soccer to create opportunities and to transform lives. For more information about the Philadelphia Union Foundation, visit For donations, visit  


Since 1972, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer has worked throughout Eastern Pennsylvania to promote, foster, and perpetuate the game of soccer to the region’s youth. Through competitions, educational programs, outreach efforts and coaching clinics, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer impacts the lives of more than 120,000 youth soccer players from ages 5 to 19. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer is one of 55 state associations in US Youth Soccer and a member of the United States Soccer Federation. Additional information about Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer can be found at