Humans of NYCFC: The Pigeon

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He’s been here since day one, and a familiar “face” in New York City FC’s community.

The NYCFC Pigeon works with youth and community all over New York City and his passion for the game has led him to explore NYC’s footballing culture through a bird’s eye view. 

He’s a diehard and a life-changer. This is his story…

Humans of NYCFC: The Pigeon -

The 2010 World Cup, and Homeless World Cup got me really into soccer, specifically the sport’s unique ability to build community and inspire social change. I work at a community school, with youth and families.  

I was intrigued by the idea that I could just purchase one ball, and these kids could learn something brand new together—both boys and girls—and it was not just about winning or losing, but that by staying focused and working together they could even draw equal…the celebrations, the discipline and composure…all real character building.

It could also be a bridge to different cultures, and a new frontier in this country. I fully immersed myself in soccer, and today I can’t remember life before I found it.

Around the time I heard NYCFC was coming, I ended up going to Manchester City with a friend who I was trying to convince to join me in getting NYC kids to play soccer in the streets. We had a fantastic experience, and it changed our lives. Fast forward, now he’s a community coach for NYCFC.  Together we started a community club for youth that practices and play during at-risk hours in Brooklyn.

After that match in Manchester, I was captivated by this father singing his club’s song with such passion and sincerity to an infant. It completely revolutionized the way that I think about the concept of a “club”. I wanted NYCFC to be that kind of club, to be a family, and to be something that we hand down, a cherished tradition.

On the flight back, I was fantasizing about what this club would sound like and look like. We joked that maybe the mascot should be a rat but that would terrify kids. Then, I thought, wait a minute, what animal do you see everywhere? Pigeons! New Yorkers either love em or hate em, but it doesn’t matter because they continue to thrive.

When you look at pigeons, they are doing their best impressions of New Yorkers: they’re just going around “busy” or “posted up”,  they’re always so unaffected and they’re all so different…and when they group and fly together united…it’s a beautiful overwhelming force.

When the club came about, I started going to all the events with the mask on. Not talking, just clowning around. I never wanted it to be about who was behind the mask. It’s just a symbol that represents, our presence. NYC is everywhere we go. Pigeons make it here and everywhere.  One day, you’ll walk around New York City, and you’ll just see the scarves and badge everywhere just like all the pigeons all over the city.

Its remarkable that we’ve all been given a voice to contribute to what this club will be built into. When I look at the badge, I don’t see a brand,  I see a mirror and a community.

New York City can be very isolating. It both feeds us and feeds on us.  It’s important to have this club for meeting people of all walks of life and for daydream escape. Every match together, 90 minutes at time, we create a better world.

READ: The rest of the Humans of NYCFC series so far

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