ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Futsal. The little sibling of soccer, and the way many grew up playing the game.
Weekly, this summer at Johnson High School in east St. Paul, futsal is life.
"What we're trying to teach is to make better people. Everyone is not gonna play pro, play college, even some aren't gonna play high school, but we can always give back to our community and be great," said SOL of the Cities co-founder Mario Wimberly.
Eight boys and four girls high school teams compete in the league every week. Middle school teams and dozens of youngers kids play, too. But after the games is something different.
"The effort that you give back is enough. So it's not about money here, it's about what you do with your time," said Sparkle Wimberly, another co-founder, to a group of futsal players gathered after a match.
Time spent serving the community. Service instead of payment. SOL of the Cities is completely free. On opening day Saturday, giving back by writing letters to older people.
"To anyone, if you're a stranger, to feel loved or just appreciate life every single day. Live it like it's your last. I feel like everyone should hear those words, not just from loved ones but from random strangers," said Lenia Lopez, who plays on the Como Park team.
Sol of the Cities provides everything you get at a pay to play league.
"In us serving them, They are able to go forth and serve others," said Sparkle Wimberly.
All this, using the World's Game.
"Many of the teams that we serve are from the cities. But we also have teams from Holy Angels and Prior Lake," said co-founder Kyle Johnson. "It's important to connect all communities. And the ability to do that through this game is really what makes it so beautiful.
Next week's community outreach effort, gathering swimsuits for kids taking free swim lessons in St. Paul.
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