Hi, my name is Ethan King. I’m 16 years old and I love the game of soccer. I’ve had the privilege to play organized soccer on teams in South Africa and in the USA. I currently play for Midwest United (formerly Grand Rapids Crew Juniors).
In the summer of 2009, I went to northern Mozambique (Africa) with my dad to help repair water wells in local villages. I took my soccer ball along thinking I might be able to get a pick up game going with the local kids. When we arrived at the village of Ntette, I threw out my ball and in a matter of seconds, 50 kids were playing. It was awesome! Many of these kids have never had the opportunity to enjoy playing soccer with a real ball. For me, it’s no big deal to play soccer with a real ball. I do it all the time. but for many of them it was a first.
I’ve discovered that many kids in poor countries want to play soccer, but they can’t because they don’t have a ball. If they do have a ball, it’s typically a bunch of plastic garbage bags wadded up and wrapped with twine and it doesn’t last very long.
As I watched the kids play, it was hard for me to think that I would be heading back to the States where I had several soccer balls in my garage just sitting there. These kids in this village had none. I thought to myself, these kids would enjoy this soccer ball far more than me. So, I walked over presented my ball as a gift.
As we prepared to leave, one of the boys brought the soccer ball back to me. I said to him, “No, this is yours. I’ve given it to you.” Immediately they ran, laughed and cheered like they had just won the lottery! For me, I loved seeing that they now had a real ball to play the game.
Every kid who loves the game of soccer deserves to play. Every kid who loves the game of soccer deserves his or her own ball. And that’s what Charity Ball is all about; getting kids their own quality ball so they can play and keep playing the beautiful game.