Harrison, NJ- The legendary Harrison Soccer Courts date back over forty years. Some of the great players in United States soccer history graced the field, and the community staple is now a brand new state of the art pitch. On April 21, the Red Bulls and the Town of Harrison opened the brand new, refurbished and renovated courts. Local dignitaries were on hand including Mayor Raymond J. McDonough of Harrison and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, who were joined by Red Bulls Managing Director Erik Stover and long-time Red Bulls defender Carlos Mendes. Red Bulls U-13 Academy player Marcello Borges, a Kearny resident, was also in attendance to help open the field.
“The Harrison Soccer Courts are part of the historical identity of this community, of the Town of Harrison,” Stover said. “It’s sort of Harrison’s version of Rucker Park for soccer. We’re just a small part of this renovation project, but we’re happy to do it.”
The Town of Harrison secured multiple grants from the State of New Jersey to help fund the project, which sprung the construction of a new fence and drainage system at the courts. The Red Bulls then pitched in by installing the brand new pitch, a high-quality FieldTurf surface, ensuring that the tradition of the courts will continue for a long time.
“The use it gets is unbelievable,” Mayor McDonough said, referring to the courts. “Harrison has always been a soccer community. The love of the game is here. The Red Bulls are getting involved in the community, and I love to see that. It’s helping keep the tradition of soccer alive in this town.”
That tradition is one rich with history, and some of the greatest players in the annals of American soccer learned the game on the Harrison courts. Local legends such as Tab Ramos, John Harkes and Tony Meola were kids before they were professionals, and the Harrison courts were where they played.
“Just to see a field like this right in the middle of town, a town that has produced some of the best soccer players in the entire state and in many cases the entire nation, I think this is wonderful,” DeGise said. “It fits with the tradition of Harrison. This kind of sandlot soccer must be very exciting to play. I don’t think you see too many 2-1 games here.”
Just minutes after Mayor McDonough, Stover, and DeGise helped cut the ribbon and officially reopened the legendary field, droves of local youth filled up the gated field, continuing the great tradition of the Harrison Soccer Courts. Some of the country’s great soccer stars began their playing days at the courts, and some of the future stars of the game surely are as well.