Guest opinion: Pro Iowa can help make our region more inclusive and welcoming.
I moved to Des Moines in May 2019, and one of the first things I noticed was the incredible sense of community that existed here compared to all the places I had lived before. As the Chair of the Civic Engagement Committee of the young professionals at the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce and an ambassador for the West Des Moines Chamber, I have interacted with quite a few business owners and seen firsthand how most people here care about their community and want to be part of something greater than themselves.
I was looking for a soccer community to join when I first heard of the Pro Iowa stadium project. For many of us born outside of the United States, soccer has played an important role in our lives and is often the only sport we have ever played, so I became naturally interested in the project and even had the opportunity to meet the people behind it. Beyond soccer, it is the impact that I believe the project will have on this community that made me throw my support behind it.
Des Moines has an increasingly diverse population, and there is no better sport in the world than soccer to bring people of different backgrounds together. It is by far the most popular sport globally, and just like our city, it is growing in this country and increasingly gaining recognition.
Our city is competing against other cities to attract and retain young and diverse talent. Projects like the USL pro Championship team show that we are committed to doing that. The game is bringing together people that otherwise would never come anywhere near each other. People who support the same team feel a sense of togetherness and pride for their city. Cities and countries throw parades when their sports team wins a championship but not when a local manufacturer announces they will create tens of thousands of jobs. Sports teams are often the great unifier in a city, region, or country and have an extraordinary ability to bring together people from all walks of life. People form bonds with other people they met online, at the stadium, at a tailgate, even if they are from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds.
We can bring that togetherness and sense of pride right here in Des Moines in addition to the economic benefits the USL Championship pro soccer stadium would bring.
I firmly believe that Pro Iowa can help make our region more inclusive and welcoming. This is a wonderful opportunity to come together and work towards a common goal to benefit our community.
Let’s come together and make it happen.