Aug 5, 2022 - Things to Do

Rooftop soccer is coming to South Philly's Bok building

Rendering of a rooftop soccer pitch at Philly's Bok building.

Goalies better not get distracted by those epic views. Image courtesy of Urban Soccer Park

A New York-based soccer center wants to take Philly's soccer scene to new heights — the rooftop of the Bok building.

Driving the news: U90 Soccer Center, which runs a soccer complex with turf fields and event and retail space in Queens, is coming to the former vocational school-turned-creative hub in South Philly this fall.

  • U90 founder Zac Rubin told Axios they're turning nearly 17,000 square feet of space, spanning two floors and a portion of Bok's rooftop, into a one-stop soccer spot.

The big picture: In a city that bleeds midnight green, where the Sixers and Flyers pack the Wells Fargo Center, soccer fandom can feel a bit sidelined. Union home games are relegated to 20 miles outside the city, and the closest big soccer retailer is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

  • Rubin said he searched all over the city for a Union jersey last year and could only find one place — a shop with Phillies gear — that had them in stock.

That, and what Rubin described as "just not enough recreational space in Philly, generally, and in South Philly specifically," is what U90 is looking to solve with its new facility.

What to expect: Renovations are underway to turn around 6,000 square feet in the building's basement into a retail space, where U90 will sell soccer apparel, jerseys, footwear, balls, bags and more — plus, they'll offer customization too. Sporting goods chain Soccer Post will run the retail operations.

  • A floor above, 5,000 square feet that was previously used as a gym in the former school will transform into indoor futsal courts, complete with a viewing gallery.
  • Then the remaining space on the rooftop will make for a turf soccer pitch, with the city skyline as a backdrop.
Side-by-side images of an indoor gym that will be transformed into a futsal court in South Philadelphia.
(Left) The indoor gym space is being transformed into a futsal court. Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios; Image courtesy of Urban Soccer Park

Rubin, who leased the space last year, envisions the complex as a place where soccer fans of all ages can come together to play games, pick up gear, watch matches and host parties.

  • With Southwark School just across the street, Rubin is looking into options to hold after-school programs in the space.
  • He also plans to list it on the app Just Play, where players can book a spot in pick-up games that U90 arranges by paying a fee.

What to watch: The World Cup in Qatar this November is expected to build more excitement around the 2026 games, when Philadelphia will be among more than a dozen sites in North America to host matches.

  • Rubin sees it as the perfect time to build on that momentum, and hopes to open in time to host watch parties this fall.
  • Come 2026, U90 could be leading marches from its space, down 9th Street, he says, to watch the international tournament live at the Linc.
Side-by-side images of the current Bok roof space and a rendering of the soccer pitch that it will be transformed into.
Urban Soccer Park will outfit the empty rooftop space (left) with turf and a cage. Photo: Alexa Mencia/Axios; Image courtesy of Urban Soccer Park

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the name of U90 Soccer Center (not Upper 90 Soccer Center).


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