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JAN 30 ONE BOOK, ONE ND featuring Ricardo Pierre-Louis

​​Imagine living in a place where one kick of a soccer ball could determine the rest of your life.
In Haiti, this can be reality.

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Time & Location





Ricardo Pierre Louis Ricardo was born in Leogane, Haiti. He started playing soccer at a young age in the streets of Haiti, where soccer is one of the few ways out of poverty and hunger. Years later, the local club youth coach invited him for a tryout and that simple act changed his life forever. He never stopped playing.

In 2004, Ricardo moved to the United States to play college soccer at Lee University. Ricardo graduated from Lee in 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration. He holds the all time scoring record for soccer at Lee and he was inducted to the Lee University Hall of Fame after his career.

Ricardo was drafted as the 22nd overall pick by the Columbus Crew in the MLS super draft. He was part of the Crew team who won the 2008 MLS Cup. Ricardo also played for the senior Haitian National Team for 9 years.

Ricardo is also the founder of Magic Soccer FC, a successful youth soccer academy in North Dakota. Wanting to also help the youth of his home country, Ricardo founded Magic Soccer Academy Verrettes in Haiti, whose goal is to attract local youth to greater opportunities through soccer. In 2013, Ricardo founded the Lespwa Lavi Academy in Verrettes, Haiti. Lespwa Lavi means “Hope for Life” in Haitian Creole. What began as a youth soccer academy has grown into a mission to empower the community of Verrettes and create a sustainable, impactful ministry. Learn more at

Ricardo earned his Master's Degree in Business Education at the University of Mary and has taught at Bismarck High School since 2017. He has been married to Nika, a North Dakota native, since 2009. The couple have four boys.

Hunger For Hope

Education in Haiti is tough and selective, leaving most of its youth behind with no hope for the future. Soccer can open doors and take you places, but it is also reserved for a select few, and is not always a promise of success. Having your life left up to chance seems unfair and terrifying, but when opportunity is scarce, one moment really can change it all.

International soccer star Ricardo Pierre-Louis has lived this existence, and emerged with more than awards and fame. He has found a way to bring hope to coming generations in Haiti and the United States, using his own struggles, love of soccer, and strong personal faith.

Journey with Pierre-Louis around the world, from Haiti to Europe to the United States, and discover what it takes to change the future for generations, one soccer ball at a time.

Moderator Julie Ramos Lagos, Bismarck Global Neighbors Executive Director

Julie Ramos Lagos was born and raised in Northwest North Dakota.   In 1997 she studied internationally in Canada and has a M.A in Student Development, B.A. in Intercultural Studies, B.A. Social Sciences, and a Certificate of T.E.S.O.L. During her studies, she developed the first ever international student program for Canadian Mennonite University as her college field study.    She also worked with New Americans volunteering with International Student Ministries and ISI (in Canada & Colorado) for over 12+ years.  Julie loves studying languages and currently speaks intermediate Spanish but has studied Spanish, German, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Hebrew, and more.  Julie is an advocate for cultural diversity, loves traveling & international foods, and has spent time in China teaching ESL to Chinese English teachers, backpacking in Europe/Greece, ministries in Honduras, started a Spanish ministries in the Bakken during the oil boom and more!    Julie is the Show Manager for the Bismarck Tribune Sport Show and Adjunct Professor for Cultural Anthroplogy classes at the University of Mary.  Julie loves sharing her North Dakota heritage to people from all parts of the world & encouraging them to share their heritage & culture as well.

HND Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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