Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Dante Washington, former Olympian and 13-year professional soccer player, has joined the YMCA of North Central Ohio as a consultant for its new branch and sports complex set to break ground in June.

Washington will share his expertise and guidance on the programs and activities for the multi-use facility designed to promote community development and economic growth for Richland County, according to a news release.

Dante Washington, former Olympian and 13-year professional soccer player, has joined the YMCA of North Central Ohio as a consultant for its new branch and sports complex set to break ground in June.

“We are so fortunate to have Dante join our team. His expertise and enthusiasm in developing youth soccer programs aligns perfectly with our goals for this new sports complex,” said Cristen Gilbert, YMCA CEO. “Our indoor and outdoor soccer fields will cater to traveling soccer teams from all over the region. Dante’s guidance and strong passion for serving the community will help us design a sport complex that will boost youth development and wellness across the state.”

Washington has more than 40 years experience in soccer as an athlete, administrator and businessman. He is a former Major League Soccer and United Soccer League player who represented the U.S. Senior National Team, the 1992 U.S. Olympic team and the 1991 Pan American Games gold medalist team. He holds an MBA from The Ohio State University and serves as the director of team strategic partnerships and business development for the Columbus Crew. He lives in Delaware, Ohio with his family.

“The YMCA of North Central Ohio is creating a unique facility that will provide quality programs and services that promote healthy lifestyles and community engagement,” Washington said. “I look forward to working with the Y staff and partners to create a sports complex that will inspire and empower kids of all ages and abilities to achieve their full potential. I have tremendous enthusiasm for what the YMCA is doing is in Richland County and throughout Ohio, and I’m committed to sharing my experiences to help it become one of the state’s top sporting facilities.”

“Dante’s professional soccer experience will help us create the sports programming, training, and tournaments that ensure every participant develops and grows from their experience at the Y’s new sports complex,” Gilbert added.  

Site plans for the YMCA of North Central Ohio's indoor/outdoor sports complex near Bellville.

The 120,000-square-foot sports complex near Interstate 71 and Ohio 97 in Richland County is expected to open in fall 2025. Project leaders say dozens of local donors have already contributed nearly $8 million for the $22 million complex, but additional funds are needed before potential donors from out of the area make their financial commitments. They are hopeful that the community will support this major project expected to bring millions of dollars into north central Ohio and add at least 100 new jobs.

The nearly 35 acres donated by former Mansfield industrialist James C. Gorman will feature indoor soccer, basketball, volleyball, pickle ball and indoor track, as well as several outdoor soccer fields and an outdoor walking trail. 

Financial gifts may be mailed to YMCA Project, YMCA of NCO, 750 Scholl Road, Mansfield OH 44907 or made at www.ymcanco.org.

lwhitmir@gannett.com

419-521-7223

X (formerly Twitter): @LWhitmir

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