SAINT PAUL, MN–Minnesota United, in partnership with MLS Works, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Musco Lighting and Hmong Lee USA announced today the unveiling of a brand new mini-pitch for the Community School of Excellence, a Hmong Language and Culture School. The pitch will live at their main campus located at Larpenteur Avenue in Saint Paul.
The mini-pitch was unveiled at a special event on Tuesday, September 20. The celebration included a first-kick/ribbon cutting ceremony, performances by traditional Hmong dancers and special appearances by MNUFC Chief Soccer Officer Manny Lagos and midfielder Niko Hansen.
This is the fourth community pitch Minnesota United has built, alongside MLS WORKS and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The Community School of Excellence was selected as the site with the help of Hmong Lee USA and Musco in an effort to make the game of football more accessible to different neighbourhoods, provide high-quality resources to our community and highlight the robust diverse communities in the Twin Cities.
“We’re thrilled to open this mini-pitch at the Community School of Excellence,” said Ed Foster-Simeon, President & CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “Through the creation of mini-pitches like this one, more children from underserved communities can benefit from all our game has to offer and connect with trained and caring coach-mentors who can change the trajectory of their lives.”
The Twin Cities has one of the highest Hmong populations in the United States, with football being the most popular sport played. The Community School of Excellence focuses on developing global-minded leaders through high academic standards and real-life experiences. The other three mini-pitches are located in the Mt. Airy, West 7th and Hamline neighbourhoods. In addition to the mini-pitch, MNUFC is donating brand new football balls and the U.S. Soccer Foundation is donating jerseys to the school.
“We are beyond grateful for this incredible gift to our school. Quality of life through a child’s eyes is exemplified through fun,” said Community School of Excellence Chief Administration Officer Kazoua Kong-Thao. “The mini-pitch and the generosity of the wonderful partners involved will inspire play, teach sportsmanship, and foster teamwork and community. This is not only a game changer, but a life changer for our kids, our community, and the neighbourhood.”
“Hmong Lee USA, Inc. is proud to be a part of this project,” said Lee Khoua C Sayaxang, Hmong Lee USA, Inc. President. “Together, our community can achieve so much.”
“Musco’s commitment to empowerment within diverse communities added another chapter with the mini-pitch installation at the Community School of Excellence,” said Assistant Treasury Manager for Musco Lighting Choua Sayaxang. “It is the first mini-pitch to be installed with the Hmong community; a group that first immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1970’s. The St. Paul/Twin Cities area has one of the largest Hmong populations with over 75,000 people. With football being the most popular sport among the Hmong, this was the perfect partnership opportunity. The pitch will be used by all including youth and adults. Musco is proud to participate in supporting CSE, the Hmong, and their commitment to providing life-learning opportunities for their community. We are grateful to all the partners for making this possible, including CSE who opened their doors and allowed us to bring a mini-pitch to their school and community.”
About Minnesota United
Professional football has been a part of Minnesota for over four decades and Minnesota United is at the forefront of growing the game at all levels. From the first team to the front office to the player pathway to our work throughout the Twin Cities, the club’s goal remains the same: to promote football, the world’s game, and through it inspire and unite our community. We’ll accomplish this through a culture built on accountability, respect, excellence and honesty and by creating a fan experience and connection to the community second to none. In 2022, MNUFC returns to the pitch for its sixth season in MLS. Follow Minnesota United’s social channels and check our website at mnufc.com for regular updates on the club.
About MLS WORKS
Major League Soccer is dedicated to addressing important social issues and improving communities where we live and play our games. Through MLS WORKS, the League’s social responsibility platform, Major League Soccer and its clubs seek to enrich the lives of those in need across the United States and Canada. MLS WORKS executes national programmes and legacy projects, charitable giving campaigns, and undertakes various initiatives that enrich and educate our youth, create sustainable communities and promote inclusion at all levels of the game.
About U.S. Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s programmes are the national model for sports-based youth development in underserved communities. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has established programmes proven to help children embrace an active and healthy lifestyle while nurturing their personal growth beyond sports. Its cost-effective, high-impact initiatives offer safe environments where kids and communities thrive. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organisation.
About Community School of Excellence
Community School of Excellence (CSE) was founded in 2007 by a group of dedicated parents and community members. CSE is a PreK-12 public charter Hmong language and culture school whose mission is to develop global-minded leaders through high academic standards and real-life experiences. CSE’s vision is a catalyst for academic transformation. CSE provides students with opportunities to learn about themselves and others, including: the rich culture and language of the Hmong people, reading and writing in English, Hmong, and Mandarin Chinese, technology and web-based learning, interactive classes and literacy instruction in all content areas. For more information, please visit www.csemn.org.