Charity Ball Founder, Ethan King

Hi, my name is Ethan King. I’m 18 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 FC in Grand Rapids MI and will play for Butler University in the fall of 2017.

How It All Started

The story behind Charity Ball

In the summer of 2009, when I was 10 years old, I went to Mozambique (Africa) with my dad to help restore broken water wells in rural communities. I took my soccer ball along thinking I might be able to get a few pick-up games going with the local kids. When we arrived at the village of Ntette, there were a few boys standing around, so I tossed them my ball. In a matter of seconds, dozens of kids from all over the village were playing and having a good time. It was so much fun to watch.

Up until that moment, most of these kids never played the game of soccer with a real soccer ball. As I watched them, it dawned on me that I had several soccer balls in my garage at home just sitting there. These kids didn’t even have one. I thought to myself, they need to have this ball. So, I did what anyone else would do – I walked over to them and presented it as a gift.

As we finished the well and began packing up, one of the boys saw us, grabbed the soccer ball and brought it back to me. All the kids followed. I said to him with a smile, “No, this is now yours. I’ve given it to you.” Immediately they ran, cheered and celebrated like they had just won the lottery! I was moved by their response. I loved seeing and knowing that they had a real ball to call their own. I was also blown away at how something so small and simple could have such a big impact.

When I returned to the United States, I kept thinking about those kids in Ntette and how that soccer ball brought them so much joy. Knowing that there are millions of other kids around the world in the same kind situation, I decide that I wanted to do more to help.

And that’s how Charity Ball started.

 

One Ball At A Time

It’s hard for me to think about what my life would be like today if I had never given away my soccer ball—not to mention the lives of everyone else who’s ever been on the giving or receiving end of a Charity Ball. Today there are tons of people from all over the world involved with us, using what they love to do to share the Beautiful Game with kids who have nothing. I believe this what makes our organization so special. I’ve discovered that the simple gift of a soccer ball not only has power to change a kid’s life, it has the ability to revolutionize society.

—E