Through a partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, Coca-Cola is helping communities across the U.S. improve their parks and recreation facilities. With Coca-Cola’s help, the City of Newark’s Waterfront recreation facility broke ground on a new multi-use field.

Written by Keith Kinard, Executive Director of the Newark Housing Authority.

When the Waterfront recreation facility opened its doors in Newark’s North Ward in 2013, our goal was to build a community center that would enrich the lives of Newark residents and give them access to a variety of services they wouldn’t ordinarily have. From rock climbing walls and golf simulators, to Zumba classes and fitness equipment, the Waterfront provides many popular in-door activities. What could make the facility even better? Providing a space for residents to get active outdoors in the fresh air and enjoy of the area’s most beloved sports– soccer.

Newark Park

Our intention was always to give the community a safe and inviting multi-use field, but we quickly realized we needed great partners to make it happen. Thanks to The Coca‑Cola Company, the City of Newark, the Newark Housing Authority, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Newark City Council member Anibal Ramos and Constellation Energy, on December 10, 2014, we broke ground on a new turf field at the Waterfront.

The new field, which addresses the city’s need for increased access to outdoor activity spaces, fulfills a promise to Just One Soccer League to give them a home base for their youth soccer games, practices and tournaments. 

The Waterfront is all about our community and its youth encouraging local residents to build self-esteem and demonstrates the importance of health and wellness. For local youth it also instills a sense of teamwork, perseverance, respect for rules and understanding of how to win with class and lose with dignity.

These are all lessons Just One Soccer League upholds and teaches every day through its dedicated volunteer coaches and family-centric spirit. As Executive Director Oscar Rodriguez says, “the ball teaches kids soccer; we teach them how to be valuable members of the Newark community.”

Much like our partners, we are excited to expand upon a broader city initiative in the City of Newark to help create healthy spaces and improve the lives of Newark residents. Together we look forward to seeing the smiling faces of teammates and young athletes out on the field and in their neighborhoods. We all believe in Newark and know that our best is yet to come.