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MLS’ Roldan Brothers From Pico Rivera Are Paying it Forward With ‘Mini Pitch’ in City

Alex and Cristian Roldan.

June 27, 2021

BY BRIAN HEWS

Cristian Roldan was named the 2013 Gatorade National Player of the Year in soccer while attending El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.  Roldan spent his college career at the University of Washington, in his two seasons with the Huskies, Roldan made a total of 41 appearances and tallied 10 goals and seven assists and helped lead the team to a Pac-12 title in 2013.

His brother Alex also attended El Rancho, helping the Dons into the playoffs all four years and winning a state championship. With his time with the Dons, he earned first-team all-league three times, and was named league MVP in after his senior season.

Alex, like his brother, spent his college career in Washington state at Seattle University. In his four seasons with the Redhawks, Roldan made a total of 82 appearances and tallied 18 goals and 17 assists.

Both Cristian and Alex now play for the Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer as midfielders and both are now paying it forward in Pico Rivera.

In early 2021, the city contacted the Roldan family, arranged a meeting with Mayor Raul Elias, Councilmember Lutz, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian McEachren, and City staff to bring a 5-on-5 mini-soccer field to Pico Rivera in partnership with the U.S. Soccer Foundation and Musco Lighting.

Mini-soccer fields are designed to be an all-in-one solution to help communities create fun and active play spaces in an effort to revitalize public areas.

The proposed mini-soccer courts come complete with lighting, fencing, goals, benches, lockable storage and American with Disabilities compliant access.

The fields are small, customized hard-court spaces perfectly suited for organized soccer programs and public pick-up games.

The site has yet to be chosen but once selected the fields can be completed in two days.

Once completed,  the City can host youth development programs offered through the U.S. Soccer Foundation, with the fields open to the public for year-round use.

The City reviewed several areas where a mini-soccer field, or fields, could be built, including Smith Park’s skate park area, an empty Southern California Edison easement lot, or the old basketball court area behind the Pico Park facility.

The areas were presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission for review at their regular meeting on June 11, 2021 where they voted to recommend the installation of the mini-soccer field(s) at the Pico Park site.

The total project cost is estimated at $220,000 with the funds coming from a one-time cost savings from the ‘20-‘21 budget.

Courtesy city of Pico Rivera.