A Youth Soccer Match In NYC Was Called Off After A Group Of Migrants Refused To Vacate The Field, Despite The Arrival Of Law Enforcement Officers

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A Youth Soccer Match In NYC Was Called Off After A Group Of Migrants Refused To Vacate The Field, Despite The Arrival Of Law Enforcement Officers

A high school soccer match scheduled at a public field in East Harlem had to be canceled when a group of migrants refused to vacate the pitch to allow the children to play.

“I directly asked them to leave and some of them kind of took it into consideration, but then four or five of them said, ‘You know what, f–k it, we don’t have to leave, we can do whatever we want,’” said Erik Johansson, the coach of the Manhattan Kickers 17-year-old boys travel team.

Around 40 boys from both teams arrived at Thomas Jefferson Park on Sunday, April 14, for the 5 p.m. game. The Kickers were scheduled to compete against FA Euro New York.

However, approximately 30 men, who seemed to be African migrants and had limited English proficiency, refused to leave, even after law enforcement officers arrived.

 “When you show up with two teams in uniform, a ref and two coaches, usually nobody is asking to see your permit,” said Johansson.

By the time Johansson’s assistant was able to forward a copy of the Kickers’ permit, the game had been delayed 30 minutes and the teams didn’t feel safe.

“Even when the game is over, you don’t know if they’re waiting for you, so even if the cops kicked them out, it may not be over. So we just all agreed, this is too dangerous,” Johansson said.

In his home country of Sweden — which saw a massive influx of migrants in recent years — the clashes on the pitch were all too common.

“I have seen this before, I know how bad it can get,” he said.

Parents told him they were rattled by the incident, and don’t want to play at the field anymore. Johansson said they don’t plan to return.

At other fields, like in East River Park, they don’t have these issues — but field space in the city is limited and they take what they can get.

“It’s so frustrating that the guys who refused to follow the rules won,” Maud Maron, a SoHo mom whose son plays on the team, told The Post.

“That’s the message the kids got.” She said it is a sign of the Big Apple becoming “lawless.”

The East Harlem field is packed with teams competing with adults for weekend time on the turf, parkgoers said. Randall’s Island, which sits on the other side of the Harlem River, was converted into shelter space for 2,000 migrants last year at the expense of the popular youth soccer fields.

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