Touchdown Greenpoint — but there’s a flag on the field!
The city’s main school athletic organization has given its approval for Greenpoint’s Automotive HS football team, the Pistons, to play two games at its “home” field in McCarren Park this year instead of having to play all its games at rival schools’ turf.
The school’s football team had been previously prohibited from playing on the artificial turf field inside the Greenpoint park across the street from the Bedford Avenue campus because of security concerns — meaning that every one of its games have been on the road, even its “home” games at the Grand Street Campus in Bushwick.
But after an article in this newspaper revealed the team’s road woes, Borough President Markowitz stepped up the pressure — and the Public School Athletic League reversed its decision to bar Automotive from its own field.
Two real home games could be in McCarren Park on on Sept. 25 and Nov. 7.
But that decision could change under further review from the Parks Department.
The agency told us that it has already issued permits for use of the McCarren Park athletic field during those times to the Greenpoint Youth Soccer League, which has the field through the fall season.
“The field is already booked for other groups at those times, and we reached out to the school to advise them of such,” said Parks spokesman Phil Abramson.
Automotive football coach Haseeb Khawaja remains optimistic that the Pistons’ home games will soon occur at McCarren. He has received encouragement from Markowitz and other community leaders interested in seeing football return to the park after a five-year absence.
If the school is able to meet the requirements for a home field setup, particularly setting up barricades and portable toilets, the PSAL will consider placing a majority of the teams’ home games at McCarren Park, possibly as soon as next year.
“We’re going to be watched pretty closely by the PSAL to make sure we pull this off,” said Khawaja. “They don’t want people on the field while the game is going on.
After completing an undefeated season last year and coming within one point of the division championships, the Pistons are switching divisions to a more difficult league. Khawaja hopes that someday games will be played on Friday nights on the track.
“If we have games on a permanent basis, we want them to be played under Friday night lights,” said Khawaja. “That’s what football is all about.”