January 25, 2013

NESCAC Men's Soccer Programs Give to the World

One World Futbol Project

HADLEY, Mass. - The NESCAC Men's Soccer Coaches have teamed up to make a difference through charitable donations to countries around the world.

Entrepeneur Tim Jahnigen of Berkeley, Calif. heads up One World Futbol Project, which is designed to bring the joy of soccer and play to youth around the world. Jahnigen was struck by conditions for children playing soccer in Darfur and the facilities they were forced to use to play the game they love.

"The only thing that sustained these kids is play," Jahnigen told the New York Times. "Yet the millions of balls that are donated go flat within 24 hours (due to playing surfaces)."

After rigorous research, Jahnigen settled on PopFoam to build an everlasting ball. PopFoam is similar to the material used in Crocs footwear and produces a virtually-indestructible soccer ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured.

With the help of music star Sting, Jahnigen created the project and received coverage from the New York Times and many other news outlets.

Bates Head Coach Stewart Flaherty heard about One World Futbol through a parent of one of his players and decided to join the effort. After Flaherty gave a presentation at the annual NESCAC Coaches Meeting about One World Futbol Project, every member of the group jumped on board to support the initiative.

In the end, the NESCAC Men's Soccer programs donated more than $1,000 worth of One World Futbols to help five different charitable foundations currently working with One World Futbol Project.

Foundations benefitting from the initiative were A Ganar (Middlebury), Afghan Play (Bates, Bowdoin, Tufts), Coaches Across Continents (Amherst, Colby, Wesleyan), Fund a Field (Williams), Grassroots Soccer (Connecticut College) and Save the Children (Hamilton, Trinity).

"It is great to see the NESCAC Coaches team up to make a positive difference," said Flaherty. "We may compete in the fall, but we are connected by the game."

"It is a pleasure to help others pursue their passion in a game we all love," said Connecticut College Head Coach Ken Murphy.

Photos Courtesy of h2 Media Labs

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