Inter Miami CF’s third annual Equipment Drive presented by Florida Blue ran successfully throughout the month of May, receiving donations of lightly used soccer equipment at locations around Miami. The drive sought to give soccer equipment to players of all economic backgrounds, providing wider access to the game of fútbol in Miami.
On Wednesday, June 24, Inter Miami staff and versatile attacker Nicolas Stefanelli visited the Little Haiti Football Club to drop-off items donated in this year’s Equipment Drive. Little Haiti FC is the only non-profit, free-to-play youth club in the southeast region. The football club has grown to 200 players in a short eight years, giving life to the youth game in the neighborhood of Little Haiti. Providing access to the beautiful game in Little Haiti’s underserved community has allowed 100% of the team’s seniors in high school in the last two years to graduate and attend college on a scholarship.
The evening was spent delivering the equipment to the youth team, learning about the club’s impact on the community, and interacting with the kids of the Little Haiti Football Club community. Stefanelli’s presence made the experience exciting for the kids as many asked questions and received signatures from the forward. He even participated in a small-sided scrimmage with a boys youth team.
“Yesterday we were with the Little Haiti soccer club youth players as Club representatives alongside Florida Blue, donating equipment so that they can play and continue developing and having fun in the safe and healthy environment of the sport”, said Stefaenelli. “There they are able to learn a lot of important values for life and have fun. It was a great experience to be there with them and even having the opportunity of playing for a while with them. I’m happy to have been there.”
Stefanelli’s impact was felt on all levels of the club as Little Haiti FC co-founder Pat Santangelo told him, “It is nice to be important, but more important to be nice.” Impacting the surrounding communities through the use of soccer is a core focus of Inter Miami CF, and the involvement of a First Team player in Stefanelli only furthers the success of that mission.
“I think it's important to be active in the community and be present as an Inter Miami player. It's good to be here, to be seen and for them to feel represented. We are normal people and it's a delight to be here for them. We want to help the community of South Florida. This Equipment Drive has been ongoing for three years now and it is really important for the Club to help youth in the region,” concluded Stefanelli.