Goal! KLN scores for Perham United
Perham business sponsors jerseys for adult soccer team.
PERHAM — KLN Family Brands kicked a goal for Perham United, the community's adult soccer league.
Before KLN generously sponsored new uniforms, the team was stuck in a black and pink uniform that had shrunk over the years.
Nanci Arevalo, KLN’s bilingual coordinator, said the original soccer uniforms were also cheaper and shorter than anticipated.
“The old uniform was kind of ugly,” she said. “The new ones will be black and yellow — the colors of Perham.”
Arevalo’s husband plays for Perham United, as do a few of the employees at KLN. She approached KLN leadership to see if they would be interested in a sponsorship to purchase new uniforms.
“They said yes, no problem; happy to do it,” Arevalo said. “For us, it is more than a jersey though. It shows they care and want to be involved in the Hispanic community. They gave us respect, and that means a lot.”
Arevalo said the soccer team has been in the community for many years. While people may see friendly practice and pick-up games at Arvig Park or the PACC, they may not know the community and culture the team has built.
“There was a person who lost their home in a fire, and the team raised money by selling food (at a four-team tournament),” she recalled. “There were raffles, too. All that was done to help that person.”
She added players and spectators enjoyed having a variety of food from different cultures, as the team has a culturally diverse group of members. The positive feedback led to more cookout fundraisers.
Norberto Villagomez said profits from cookouts are always gifted to someone in need, or organizations, such as the Cancer Society.
Villagomez is hoping to bring league play to Perham in coming years.
“We want to show everyone the town we are proud of being a part of,” he said, noting, currently, games are played in Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls and other host communities.
The league also focuses on mentoring the youth, Arevalo said. She explained the team is for those 18 and older and that anyone is welcome to join. However, younger kids often join for practice or pick-up games on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Arivg Park or the PACC (depending on weather) around 6 p.m. In addition to learning about soccer, the youth see team building in action and spend time with responsible adults.
The members of the team are also gifted another family in the community, Arevalo said.
“We spend holidays together and more,” she explained.
Arevalo saw the good character of the soccer league members and how they created a positive influence in the community.
“We want people to see that our culture is not to come here and steal jobs or sell drugs,” she said. “We want to change minds and educate people so they see what real Latino culture is.”
While the team is proud of their accomplishments on and off the field, team member Oshane West wanted to recognize the local company for their generosity in helping them earn their Perham colors.