Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Buccaneers Players, Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward, and Community Leaders Dedicate New Synthetic Turf Field and Renovations at NFL Y.E.T. CenterToday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – led by Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and players Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries, Clinton McDonald, and Noah Spence – joined Tampa Police Chief Eric Ward, community leaders, and more than 100 local children to celebrate the official opening of “Glazer Family Field” at the Jackson Heights NFL Youth Education Town (Y.E.T.) Center.
“Two core beliefs of my family are that children are capable of accomplishing great things and that family is the most important thing,” said Glazer Kassewitz. “Today is really a reflection of those core beliefs. I can see what a tremendous asset this beautiful facility is for the community, and it will uplift these children. It’s such a first class field that kids will be inspired by playing here.”
The brand new, synthetic turf field is just one example of Bucs for a Better Bay: the Buccaneers’ far reaching commitment to making Tampa Bay better today and for generations to come. The renovation project and new turf field at the NFL Y.E.T. Center was made possible through grants and donations from the Buccaneers, the NFL/LISC Grassroots Program, and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation that were administered by the local non-profit organization CAN-DO, Inc., and Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc.
“It’s important that we have partners like the Glazers and several other partners that had a vision and wanted to give back to the community,” said Eric Ward, City of Tampa Chief of Police. “When I was a little kid, I played on this field and it was just a dirt lot full of sand spurs. Now, having a field such as this that you can play soccer, lacrosse, and football on, it’s great for the community. It gives the community a sense of pride in where they live and their surroundings.”
In front of a brand new scoreboard and on a field painted to host a variety of sports, community members gathered for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on a project more than a year in the making. To commemorate the official opening of Glazer Family Field, members of the Tampa Bay Youth Football League’s Junior Buccaneers ran through a giant inflatable Buccaneers helmet alongside Brate, Humphries, McDonald, and Spence amidst cheers welcoming the youth athletes to their renovated turf.
“Having this as a resource is great for the kids,” said McDonald. “Instead of saying, ‘Let’s go to the dirt field,’ the kids will say, ‘Let’s go to the new field that the Bucs have built. Let’s take advantage of this.’ I see a lot of enthusiasm from the kids, a lot of gratefulness, so it’s a great resource for them.”
Also on hand for the ceremony were Tampa Parks & Recreation Director Greg Bayor, NFL Grassroots/LISC Senior Program Officer Kwame Flaherty, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation Vice President Chuck Brady, Friends of Tampa Recreation, Inc. Board Chairman Mark Downing, and CAN-DO, Inc. Board President Jamie Klingman.
Last fall, the entire Buccaneers business operations staff kicked off the renovation with a groundbreaking ceremony on the field, including a $200,000 grant presentation and upgrades to the facility as part of the Buccaneers’ annual “Hometown Huddle” day-long service project. The visit included painting, landscaping, and dance/fitness room enhancements, as well as interaction with the youth attending the recreation center.
The NFL Y.E.T. Center, established in 2001 in East Tampa as part of a legacy project following the 2001 Super Bowl, is home to youth football, school and intramural sport leagues, and summer camp events for the surrounding community. The Jackson Heights NFL Y.E.T. Center is one of the many organizations supported by the Bucs Care Foundation, which is dedicated to making a difference in the Tampa Bay area through programming that will inspire, equip and celebrate the “Champion” in each of us. Led by the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the organization’s players, coaches, cheerleaders, alumni, and staff play an active role in community improvement through a variety of youth health and education initiatives, family outreach, and military support. Innovative partnerships between the Bucs Care Foundation and local nonprofit organizations provide assistance to thousands of Central Florida residents each year. To learn more, visit www.buccaneers.com/community.