Minnesota United announced June 27 that the club will host the girls U15 team from the LEAD Monrovia Football Academy in Liberia at this year’s USA CUP at the National Sports Center in Blaine July 16-20.

The USA CUP is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the world, welcoming more than 1,000 youth teams every summer to the NSC campus.

“As a club, we’re always looking for ways to connect with our diverse community through the world’s game,” said MNUFC CEO Chris Wright. “Our ownership group has worked tirelessly with LEAD Africa to make this trip possible for these girls, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to Minnesota. We know it will mean a lot to the more than 35,000 Liberians living here in the Twin Cities and to Liberia’s president, soccer legend George Weah.”

“This will be a tremendous experience for the young ladies traveling from our flagship leadership academy in Liberia,” said William Smith, co-founder and director of the LEAD Monrovia Football Academy. “The trip would not have been possible without the support and generosity of Minnesota United. We are so grateful to Chris Wright, the owners and the rest of the club for this very special opportunity.”

This marks the first time a Liberian team will participate in the tournament. As part of their trip, the 14 athletes and three staff members will attend Minnesota United’s friendly against EPL side Aston Villa Wednesday, July 17, as well as visit other Twin Cities landmarks and connect with the Liberian community in the Twin Cities.

LEAD Africa is a network of progressive leadership academies that empower Africa’s future leaders through quality education and sport.

LEAD’s flagship, Monrovia Football Academy, is the first school in Liberia to combine high-quality education with professional football training.

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