Homestay Program…what’s that? Well, it’s sort of like a foreign exchange program. Except without the exchange part. And with the chance to host a top young soccer player who just might turn into the next big star for Minnesota United.
Sound intriguing? Read on.
A key cornerstone in the club’s long-term blueprint for success, Minnesota United’s Youth Academy is relentlessly focused on identifying, recruiting, and developing the best young talent in the game.
Great soccer players come from all around the world, of course, and as Minnesota United seeks to develop one of Major League Soccer’s elite youth development programs, it’s important for the club bring in top players from around the globe and provide them with an integrated, holistic experience while here in Minnesota.
That’s where the Homestay Program comes in. Participating families welcome a young athlete into their home for the duration of the season, providing them with housing, support, and connection as they continue their athletic development and integrate into a new community.
Participating families will receive a number of benefits, some of the both of the tangible and intangible variety:
- Monthly stipend of $600 per player
- Access to exclusive team and Homestay Program events
- Opportunity to make a significant impact in the life of a young player and develop a lifelong connection
- Chance to directly contribute to Minnesota United’s goal of impacting the community through soccer
When families sign up to be a host family, they’re agreeing to provide structure, support, and a home-away-from-home for a young athlete moving to a brand-new environment. Some of those commitments include:
- Completing a “Delegation of Parental Authority” process, so that a member of the host family becomes the “attorney-in-fact” and has parental authority over the player so they may enroll the player in a local school district, obtain medical treatment for the player, and supervise the player
- Providing a furnished room and access to internet, television, and laundry as appropriate
- Providing access to home (key/code) & household amenities
- Providing three (3) nutritious meals each day, either as a family or available for self-preparation, plus healthy snacks
- Providing a safe, healthy, and welcoming family environment
Sound like something you’re interested in? Apply here to learn more about how you can become a Minnesota United Homestay Family.
What steps do I have to take to become a host family?
The first step is to fill out the Homestay application, located above. Once the application is received and approved, we will do an introductory phone call. After that, we will conduct an in-house interview and tour of your house. If everything looks good, the final step is a background check for all residents 18 years and older. Once all steps have been completed, you will be placed on the “available” list to be matched with a player.
Can I have more details on the background check?
As most of the participating players will be minors, it’s important MNUFC do a background check on all potential host families to confirm that players will be placed in a safe and healthy environment. MNUFC will initiate and pay for the background check. Once submitted, results are available within a week. As soon as MNUFC receives the results, they will follow up with the potential Homestay Family.
What are the potential ages of the player(s)?
MNUFC recruits players between the ages of 14 to 18 years old to move to the Twin Cities and join the Academy or MNUFC2 teams. Most of these players are in high school and will need to attend school while living with their host family.
Do I have to drive the player(s) to school, practice and games?
MNUFC will make the necessary arrangements to bring the player to training should the host family be unable to do so.
How does MNUFC decide which player(s) to match with a Homestay Family?
As part of the player recruiting process, our coaches get to know prospective players personally, and will use information from both the family and player applications to find the best possible match on both sides.
Will these players all speak English?
Because we recruit players from all around the world, it is very possible that some of these players will have limited or no English when they first arrive. There are a number of resources to assist with communication where language is a barrier, and our team will work closely with host families to ensure the communication process is going well. As part of the application process, families can also indicate their level of comfort in hosting players where language may be a barrier.