Take one rocky, uneven field, a professional soccer club and a manufacturer of outdoor equipment and what do you get? A new, clean-cut soccer pitch on the East Side of St. Paul that will help shape the lives of young people for years to come.

Volunteers laying sod

“The Toro Company has a history of combining its assets of financial resources, equipment and people to improve communities where our employees live and work,” says Elizabeth Ramirez, associate manager, community and public relations at The Toro Company. For ten years, Toro had made it a priority to renovate baseball and softball fields in the Twin Cities through a partnership with the Minnesota Twins grounds and office staff. So, why not apply the same idea to soccer? “We approached the MN United with a similar idea to improve soccer pitches in the area,” says Ramirez.

Ryan Moy, MNUFC’s Head Groundskeeper, was keen to the idea immediately. “Giving back to the community is a pillar of our organization, and our mission statement is to expand and build the world’s game of soccer. The idea of helping with a community center pitch rebuild only ten minutes from our stadium fit just like a glove.”


So, when the Minnesota United and Toro came to the city of St. Paul offering to help, Andy Rodriguez, Director of Parks & Rec for St. Paul knew just the spot. “There was a neglected soccer pitch at Arlington Hills Community Center, which is really the crown jewel of our East Side recreation centers,” says Rodriguez. Between the soccer field grounds expertise offered by Moy and his team and several skilled Toro employees who are also sports turf managers with the expertise needed to oversee field renovation efforts, the project came together quickly.

Toro Dingo TX 1000

Moy and his team of two groundskeepers brought along a Toro Workman HDX and Workman GTX Lithium-Ion to help transport volunteers and materials around the site. A Toro Dingo TX 1000 made quick work prepping the site, and 19 additional Toro volunteers went to work with Moy and his crew to level out the field and lay new sod. The crew didn’t take any shortcuts either, ensuring that a water-efficient Toro irrigation system was also installed to keep the field playable for years to come.

“There was a lot of laughing, learning and teamwork that day,” says Moy. “We were building our team up, while also providing value to the kids and community of St. Paul.”

City of Saint Paul donation check

The Toro Company Foundation partnered with MNUFC to contribute a combined $30,000 to renovate the pitch, which is already garnering excitement in the community. “Once the word really gets out, the field will be packed,” says Rodriguez, who is setting up programming for soccer leagues to use the pitch in the Fall.

“It’s such a strong asset for the community to be able to work with private partners to get a project like this completed — it’s really for the greater good,” says Rodriguez. “We have minimal soccer space on that side of town, so this is a huge deal. This will be the nicest natural grass field on the East Side that also has irrigation, which is a game changer.”