COLUMBUS (WCMH) – An international partnership that will make a lasting impact in the community is the goal players and organizations from one of the world’s biggest sports has in mind for a local group.
The Campeones Cup, a special game between the Columbus Crew and Cruz Azul, will kick off in Columbus Wednesday, but before that, all of the organizations banded together for a special project with two goals in mind for the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.
“That really makes a dream come true, you know,” said Josue Vicente, executive director of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition.
Vicente said the two teams, along with Major League Soccer and Liga MX, are accomplishing two goals, one being a new learning center.
“Many families here still in the Latino community still have and facing a lot of barriers of, you know, being able to buy or access the internet, sometimes access to computers as well, so they will have the opportunity to come in and do homework,” he said.
The second goal is a commitment to change the coalition’s parking lot into a futsal-style soccer field, a project that is being helped by Crew legend Kyle Martino.
“They go into the ground, you open a latch and then you lift it up, kind of like the handle on your suitcase, and it turns into a soccer court,” Martino said of goals that will be installed in the parking lot, transforming it into the futsal-style field, which utilizes a harder pitch and smaller low-bounce ball.
Inside the learning center, there is a unique space decorated with soccer in mind: lockers and Crew colors everywhere.
“I know if I had this, I would be like doing my work and then I’d go outside, play, do all that, so it would be cool,” said Steven Toxqui, who was at the coalition Monday.
Vicente said this will help the Latino community in Columbus for years to come.
“Through sports, we can unify ourselves,” he said. “We can start learning from each other and that’s the goal of the coalition.”
The new soccer goals will be set up in the coming weeks at the Ohio Hispanic Coalition Building on Bethel Road, which the Columbus Crew will take on Cruz Azul Wednesday at Lower.com Field.