ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Propositions 1 and 2 are waiting for St. Louis city voters on the April 4 ballot, which if passed, would bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis. But the vote would begin more than construction of a stadium, it would also generate new programs for thousands of kids in the city.
President of the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, Wendell Covington Jr., says he isn’t interested in the politics of an MLS team coming to St. Louis, instead he focuses on what it would mean for youth development.
“I’m interested in impacting the families as much as we can,” Covington says. “Quite frankly, we haven’t had any other opportunity to build revenue, to build jobs and to build youth at the same time.”
Mathews-Dickey and the thousands of local youth it helps would be partial recipients of a $5 million investment promised by the potential MLS ownership group, SC STL.
“To have multi-millionaires have some responsibility in not only bringing a professional athletics team to St. Louis, we know they are interested in building revenue, but also to have the social investment responsibility in the community really excited me,” Covington says.
SC STL and its chairman, Paul Edgerley signed a Community Benefits agreement with the city to provide coaches, equipment and training camps to inner city youth if Props 1 and 2 pass on April 4th.
“Because we believe that is important,” Covington says. “I truly believe that St. Louis will be a better city, it will have more tax revenue, it will have more philanthropic benefits.”
Covington, who was with the ownership group to announce the community benefits agreement, knows there are other challenges facing St. Louis. But believes this commitment will positively impact kids, just like others sports already have.
“Everybody is not going to be an like an Ezekiel Elliot who runs a 4.4 in the 40, everyone’s not going to be able to hit a curveball. But the reality is if I have a kid who’s 5-5 and quick, give him a soccer ball, give him access to something that he has never experienced before. And that could possibly take him into college.”
Covington believes some people have forgotten how athletics can help young people, and has just one request of the St. Louis community.
“I just ask that people give it a try. I ask that people say ‘Hey, what can we do to build jobs, build revenue, but more importantly, build our youth?’ I mean this can take our youth into a different trajectory than what we are on right now. We have to do something different.”