By Ben Fractenberg
SPANISH HARLEM — Who needs the World Cup?
Kids at East Harlem's PS 72 took shots against players from England's Manchester City team on Thursday during a celebration marking the completion of the school's new rooftop soccer field.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand the game,” said international soccer star Patrick Vieira, who plays for Manchester City. “It’s always good to give back to the community.”
The British team jointly funded the six-story high field, located at Lexington Avenue and 104th Street, with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.
Other Manchester City players, including Shay Given, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany and Vladimir Weiss, joined Vieira at the ceremony celebrating the opening.
One young player said the U.S.’s recent World Cup performance helped get them into the game.
“Since I watched that I got more into soccer,” said 9-year-old Nazar West, a student at the school. “It’s better to play soccer than get into trouble.”
Manchester City will stay in town to play the New York Red Bulls on July 25th as part of a summer tour.