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Guest opinion: Turning coal into a diamond


I was raised in Altoona, Iowa and played my first soccer league at around 5 years old. I am absolutely certain that my dad and almost all of the other teams from the budding Altoona Soccer Club had no idea what they were doing, some vague understanding that the World Cup was a “thing,” and this guy Pele from Brazil was pretty good. It was more like a rugby scrum for quite a few seasons! How things have changed. …  I have spent the last 11 years coaching my own three daughters in the Des Moines Soccer Club – and the opportunity for our family to interact and connect with families from all races, colors and creeds has been one of the true joys of my life.  

Soccer is known as “el hermoso juego / the beautiful game” for many reasons I suppose, but the reason that most resonates with me is the fact that it is maybe the only universal language that is understood in every single community across the globe, and the passion for this game, or language, is such a unifying factor without regard to country, political affiliation, really whatever.

The opportunity for our community to attain a USL pro club in Des Moines, Iowa is one that I don’t think we can afford to pass up. As a significant additional draw for our city and state – one that will resonate with all of our diverse communities and a way for people of so many stripes to come together – I don’t think there is anything quite like this in our state. If you’ve ever attended an MLS game in Kansas City you would have a pretty clear understanding – it has been embraced by the entire region and one of the biggest draws in the league. The added bonus of cleaning up the Superfund site in an area of our County that even my children know as not too short of a wasteland is truly turning the coal into a diamond.

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