The Kansas City Soccer Foundation and Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad gave a $25,000 check to the Belvidere Park Improvement Project on Wednesday as part of the Major League Soccer Pepsi Refresh Project. Conrad proposed the idea to repair the park, it finished second in league-wide voting.
Conrad was joined by Wizards President Robb Heineman and several other local dignitaries, including representatives from Pepsi, KCMO Parks and Recreation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Don Bosco Centers, Northeast Soccer League, Kansas City Power & Light, A.L. Huber General Contracting and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
"The Pepsi Refresh Project allows for fans to make a positive impact on local communities," said Conrad. “"The Wizards want to make a difference here in Kansas City, and this $25,000 project will have a lasting impact on this area."
Local youth soccer players from the Northeast Soccer League gathered at Belvidere Park to play in a soccer match against local community leaders and received the good news in a surprise ceremony as part of the event on Wednesday afternoon. Conrad, 2009 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year, served as an honorary coach for the youth team.
The Pepsi Refresh Project contest was held amongst all 16 Major League Soccer Clubs in September, with each club choosing a player to represent a proposed project in their local area. Conrad campaigned for nearly 30,000 votes to finish as runner-up in the contest and receive the $25,000 prize to develop soccer fields at Belvidere Park, located in northeast Kansas City, Missouri at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Lydia Avenue.
Over 600 youth currently play soccer on these fields, and many come from diverse cultural backgrounds, including a strong Hispanic population and individuals from Somalia, Vietnam, the former Soviet Block and more than 45 other ethnicities.