"Major League Baseball is proud to join the Phillies organization and the City of Philadelphia in opening the fields of our fifth Urban Youth Academy," said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. "This Academy will give the kids of Philadelphia access to outstanding facilities where they can learn our game, foster their interests and - most importantly - grow as individuals. The growing network of Urban Youth Academies demonstrates our commitment to making our sport accessible to young people in cities across the country."
"Today's opening of the Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy is a significant milestone when it comes to developing inner-city youth baseball," said David Montgomery, Phillies Chairman. "This new field serves as a Major League forum for the next generation of baseball, and as a result, the more than 8,000 players in our RBI program will have even more opportunities to further showcase and develop their skills, starting with the Phillies Carpenter Cup on June 15. This is indeed a proud moment for the Phillies, Major League Baseball and the City of Philadelphia, and the start of an even brighter future for talented, young baseball players."
"The partnership of Major League Baseball and the Phillies with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation provides enriching new opportunities for youth throughout the city," said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources. "The City of Philadelphia is fully committed to this collective effort of providing participants with the skills and experiences that prepare them for success both on and off the playing field."
The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy will be managed in collaboration with Major League Baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Former Major League and professional players, scouts, college and high school coaches, along with others from the baseball and softball communities, will provide instruction and program oversight. The Academy's facility and program resources will be available to the young people of the Philadelphia area year-round through a membership program.
The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy is a strategic relationship that will enhance the quality of baseball and softball throughout Philadelphia while directly addressing other Philadelphia Parks & Recreation youth development objectives. It will create a dynamic youth program that utilizes baseball and softball to develop the athletic and social potential of participants. There will be programs offered for skill development, physical fitness, coach training and academic support.
The Philadelphia Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy is modeled after the first MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton, California, which opened in 2006 as the first of what is now a growing network of facilities designed to give young people around the country the opportunity to receive baseball and softball instruction at no cost. With the opening of the Phillies MLB Urban Youth Academy, there are now five operational Academies, including others in Cincinnati (Ohio), Compton (California), Houston (Texas) and New Orleans (Louisiana). Each MLB Urban Youth Academy is similarly built with multiple fields, batting cages, pitching tunnels and indoor facilities (for both baseball/softball and educational activities).
All MLB Urban Youth Academies provide educational programming, such as SAT/ACT preparation and tutoring, and each Academy's goal is to graduate 100 percent of the youth it serves. MLB Urban Youth Academies also operate baseball vocational programming, offering its participants and members of the local community the opportunity to attend free seminars on umpiring, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports and broadcast journalism, public relations and statistics, and athletic sports training.
Collectively, MLB Urban Youth Academies have served more than 20,000 young men and women. More than 500 Academy student-athletes have gone on to participate in collegiate baseball and softball programs, and nearly 150 Academy alumni have been selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including 37 in the last three drafts.
Three alumni have been picked in the first-round, including 2013 selections J.P. Crawford (#16 overall by the Philadelphia Phillies), Dominic Smith (#11 overall pick by the New York Mets) and 2008 first-round pick Aaron Hicks (#14 overall by the Minnesota Twins). Five MLB Urban Youth Academy graduates appeared on Major League rosters during the last two seasons (Hicks, Twins; Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers; Anthony Gose, Detroit Tigers; Efren Navarro, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Jon Singleton, Houston Astros).