Whitecaps FC Community MVP Steve McMinn 'flattered' at nomination, but says focus should be on Covenant House

Steve - Community MVP

The MLS WORKS Community MVP contest is a league-wide contest that acknowledges someone who is committed to making a difference in their local community. The winner receives $10,000 to give to the charity of their choice and an all-expenses paid trip to the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game in Denver, Colorado on July 29, 2015. Show your support for Whitecaps FC's Community MVP Steve McMinn by voting now!

VANCOUVER, BC – Steve McMinn doesn’t want the spotlight – but he’s willing to accept it because he knows it’s for a greater good.

McMinn was selected as Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s nominee for the league-wide MLS WORKS Community MVP initiative, which acknowledges individuals who are committed to making a difference in their local communities.

Vancouver’s representative has won the contest two years in a row. Should McMinn win it again this year, $10,000 would be donated to his charity of choice: Covenant House Vancouver.

That’s where you catch McMinn’s attention.

“It meant a lot to me that the Covenant House was selected,” McMinn said when asked what it meant to him to be the 2015 Whitecaps FC Community MVP. “Covenant House has a long list of people, staff and volunteers, that do fantastic work. Of course, I was flattered to be the representative, the face, but it’s all about Covenant House as far as I’m concerned.”

McMinn is a longtime volunteer with Covenant House Vancouver, a community partner of Whitecaps FC that offers shelter and services to at-risk and homeless youth.

He has assumed a number of roles since getting involved in 2011 – most notably as the lead of Covenant House’s recreational soccer program.

“When they heard my accent, they probably thought I might know something about soccer,” said McMinn, who was born in Scotland. “They asked if I wanted to help get the program started. Of course, I was happy to help.”

When McMinn stepped in, the soccer program was still in its infancy. Not anymore.

About 180 young men and women have participated over the last four years – and McMinn has seen it make a difference in a lot of their lives.

“We’ve seen young people go from needing the program to leading in the program,” he said.

Ali was featured in the club's BuckUp for Mental Health video

One of those young men is Ali, who was featured in Whitecaps FC’s Buck Up for Mental Health campaign video. When asked how Covenant House has helped him, Ali said: “That’s going to take a whole day to answer.”

Ultimately, Ali said that Covenant House became a “home.” And not just because it put a roof over his head.

“Every time I lose peace I just go back to there and sleep with a smile,” he said. “I keep on saying this, people I never wanted to have around me just flipped into the people I can’t live my whole life without.”

That’s the beauty of the program, McMinn said. It’s not just about shelter and it’s not just about soccer: it’s about creating a community – a safe one where there’s respect for everyone involved.

“We’ve had youth we basically had to drag out of bed in the morning to come in the first place and they haven’t stopped coming back,” said McMinn, who will be recognized at this Sunday’s home match vs. San Jose Earthquakes. “That’s been the most heartening part of it. We’ve been able to provide something that these youth feel is worthwhile to continue with.”

And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Voting for the 2015 MLS WORKS Community MVP contest closes on July 29. Show your support for Whitecaps FC's Community MVP Steve McMinn by voting now!