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Custom Soccer Balls: Bounce Athletics

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I recently had the privilege to interview Zach Jonker and ask him a few questions about soccer balls. Zach and his buddy Mike Atchison run a custom soccer ball company in Petosky, Michigan called Bounce Athletics. What these guys do is really awesome.

Ethan: Tell us about Bounce Athletics.

Zach: Bounce Athletics is a Michigan based custom soccer ball and training vest supplier that is fully committed to giving back to the game we love. We offer camp/rec, training, and competition balls. All of our balls and vests can be fully customized using our beautiful designs with your organization’s logo. We also offer skill balls and stock training balls and futsal balls.

Ethan: There are different qualities of soccer balls. Talk to us about the different types.

Zach: When talking about ball quality the first thing you look at is the outer cover of the ball. The best hand-stitched training and match balls are made from different types of Polyurethane (PU). Recreational level hand stitched balls are made from PVC. PVC is more durable, but much less supple and responsive. Machine stitched balls have become a popular low cost alternative within the past few years. Most of these balls are made from a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). This material tends to be very sticky, especially in humid weather, which makes technical training difficult. Layers of polyester, cotton, or foam (or a combination thereof) are adhered to the back of the outer cover to provide cushion.
Inside this shell sits the bladder.


Ethan: We recently talked about the different kinds of soccer ball bladders…

Zach: Soccer balls feature either a butyl or latex bladder. Top level training and match balls all have a latex bladder as it is more elastic and responsive. This helps the ball explode off the foot. Latex is a rather porous material though. This is why you need to re-inflate top level balls once a week. Butyl bladders are not as elastic and a bit heavier, but they are much less porous. Good butyl bladders will hold air for most of the season which is very convenient for the coach and player. It really depends on your preference. If you are more performance oriented and don’t mind pumping up your training balls weekly we recommend latex. For younger travel players and recreational level players we recommend butyl bladders. Futsal balls have foam injected into a buytl bladder to provide a dead bounce effect.

Ethan: How does the quality of the ball influence a soccer game?

Zach: The quality of the ball plays a huge factor in any match. The best match balls include only the highest grade PU backed by polyester and micro foam with a latex bladder. They should explode off the foot so proper air pressure is also important. A poor quality or under inflated ball can really impact the game in a negative manner. Typically a poor quality ball takes away any technical advantages one team may have and favors a the lesser skilled team. The best balls in the world all meet FIFA’s most exacting standards. Visit for more details.

Big thanks to Zach for the time & insight. Bounce is partnered with Charity Ball and gives 5% of their total sales to help us get kids in poverty-stricken communities new soccer balls. For More information visit Bounce online.

Michigan ODP

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This past week my brother, Jade and I tried out for Michigan ODP.

ODP stands for Olympic Development Program. It’s a system created by U.S Youth Soccer to identify and develop up & coming soccer players to represent their state, region and ultimately the United States in global competition. Every year, some of the best players from each state gather on a specific location for open tryouts.

Jade’s tryouts (u11) were held in Kentwood, Michigan and took place over the course of 3 consecutive evenings. His track is ODP 101 – which involves ODP prep, training and identification for a select group of kids who are good enough to make the cut. Jade made the squad for the west side of Michigan.

My tryouts (u14) were held in Canton, Michigan and took place over the course of 2 days. During tryouts coaches and instructors evaluate the performance of each player based on such things as technique, tactics, fitness, athletic ability and attitude. At the end of the last session, parents and players are gathered and the head coach reads the numbers of the players who made the team.

I’m grateful to have made the team again this year. It’s an awesome opportunity and privilege. Over the winter months I’ll travel to the east side of the state to train and play with the rest of the guys who made the state pool team.

My goal is to be selected as one of the players to represent Michigan at the regional camp tournament and get picked for regional holdover next summer. Looking forward to working hard and giving my best. Stay tuned.

Erin Jipping: Hope College Women’s Soccer

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Let me introduce you to Erin Jipping. Erin is part of my extended family and an amazing soccer player. She’s been playing the beautiful game for as long as I can remember.

Erin currently plays for Hope College (Holland, MI). A graduate from West Ottawa High School, she was honored as one of MIAA’s MVP offensive players last fall when she scored a hat-trick as a freshmen – the very first hat-trick in Hope’s Van Andel Soccer Stadium.

I recently asked her what were some things that she learned about transitioning from high school to college soccer. Here’s what she said…

1. Dedication
Dedication is the number one most important thing to have. It’s hard transitioning from high school to college, so dedicating myself fully to the team and getting better was a must.

2. Leadership
Be a leader. Always remember that even though you are such a small part of the team your leadership matters. Always remember that one person on the team could be looking at you as a role model. Be a leader on and off the field at all times. Push yourself and your team to your fullest potential.

3. Team
Team is everything. I learned that being on a college team is not just being a part of a team, it’s being a part of a family. Team chemistry is what makes the team mesh on the field. We would do anything for one another and it shows on the field when we play. There is no “I” in team. One team, one dream. We were and always will be a family. So be a good supportive team mate no matter what, it makes the world of a difference.

Erin, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Congrats again on netting the first hat-trick at Van Andel!

Tri-Cities Strikers 3v3

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Yesterday I had a solid time playing and promoting Charity Ball at the Tri-Cities Strikers 3v3 tournament (Grand Haven, Mi). My Friend Cam and I put together a small team with a few of our buds from Lakeshore Premier. We had an awesome time playing and hanging out with each other. I love playing with these guys. They are passionate about the game and passionate about winning. Although our 3v3 team made it to the finals, we got off to a slow start. At one point we were down by 3 points. The guys showed some character, turned up the intensity and came back. At the end of the day, our team won the championship 6-5. The other team (No Mercy) did a great job and put up a good fight. I’ve got to give them props – it was a good game.

Can’t say enough about The Tri-City Strikers and Lakeshore Premier. Both clubs have been extremely supportive of Charity Ball. CB had a tent-display set up all day at the event. (thanks to everyone who volunteered) Lots of people stopped by and we sold a bunch of shirts to support the cause. For the first time we used Twitter to promote CB at an event. We sent out tweets and invited people to follow or retweet to enter a giveaway. We raffled off CB T-shirts each hour from 10am-2pm during the tournament. People seemed to be into it. We also had a lot of folks stop by to purchase shirts or donate money to help get kids around the world receive new soccer balls. It was a great day!


Top 3 Things To Do as a Goalkeeper

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Garrison Mast (14 years-old) is an outstanding goalkeeper.

My brother calls him “The Mini Casillas” (Real Madrid’s & Spain’s amazing net minder). I’ve played with “G” for the last 2 years on the U13 and U14 Lakeshore Premier Teams. Over the last 2 premier league seasons he has only been scored on 5 times. That number is not a mistake. Of the dozens of shots taken on him, only 5 have have made it across the line. As a forward, I’ve gone up against a lot of good goal keepers and G is easily one of the best.

I recently asked him if he would give us some goalkeeping tips. So for those of you wanting grow in your goalkeeping skills – here ya go. Thanks G!

Top 3 Things To Do As a Goalkeeper

1. Always be talking
Communicating with your teammates and telling them where to be is a huge way to cut back on the goals against you. Direct your players where to be and you will not have as many goals scored on your team, which will ultimately lead to more wins.

2. Always be positive
The more you are positive, the more your players will want to work for you. With your players working hard for you, fewer goals will be scored, also leading to more wins.

3. Always give effort
If you give 100% effort on every shot, (even the ones you know you will most likely miss) you will eventually extend your range and make the save. Also when your teammates see you giving 100% all the time, they too will want to work that hard as well.

– Garrison

Garrison Mast lives in Grand Haven Michigan, attends Grand Haven high school and plays for Lakeshore Premier Soccer Club.

Volunteering @ Hope Soccer Camp

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For the past two weeks I’ve been volunteering as a junior coach at the Hope College Soccer Camp.

The camp is directed by the men’s head coach, Steve Smith and led by some of Hope College’s outstanding players.

Kids (ages 4-14) come from all over Michigan to spend the week learning how to become a better soccer player. Each day has a specific focus like finishing, defending or passing. Typically there is a demonstration and then kids go to their individual teams and work with the Hope players to develop the demonstrated skill. The player / coaches are awesome college students who really care about the kids. I really enjoy being around these guys. They are smart, fun and really talented. So if your looking to develop as a player, be sure to check out The Hope Soccer Camp in Holland, Michigan

By the way, that’s me in the blue Spain jersey down front. It was red, white & blue day and Spain was playing Portugal in the Euro 2012 – so I just had to wear it.

Soccer in the Sand

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This weekend I’ll be at Grand Haven (Michigan) beach playing a little Soccer in the Sand. Last year I played on a team with some of the guys from my old U14 Lakeshore Premier team. It was great! We couldn’t have had a better day at the beach. I’ll be playing with a similar team again this year and we’re going to be wearing the special edition Charity Ball jerseys. Big thanks to the guys for being willing to play for something even bigger.

Here is our team schedule

If you live in the Grand Haven area and your not doing anything this weekend, come check it out!

Soccer in the Sand

Nike Better World

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Over the past couple years, the guys at Nike have been taking old, plastic bottles (that would typically end up in landfills) and using them to create some of the coolest, enviro-friendly soccer kits to ever hit the pitch. Today, every new Nike national team kit is created with at least 96% recycled polyester. Each jersey is made using an average of 7 plastic bottles and each pair of shorts is made using an average of 6 plastic bottles. That’s 13 plastic bottles per kit! Pretty amazing. Props to Nike for helping make the game and our world a little more beautiful.

Note: Since 2010, Nike Soccer has used close to 115 million recycled plastic bottles to create its high performance kits. Lined up end-to-end, that’s enough bottles to stretch halfway around the world. Nike Better World

Wondering how Nike does it? Check out the video below.

Christian Ouding: You Will Be Missed

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Yesterday I received some terrible news.

13-year old Christian Ouding passed away from a drowning accident in Lake Michigan on Saturday morning. I had just finished my tryouts with Lakeshore Premier when my mom gave me the difficult news. I was devastated to hear what had happened and was totally shocked.

Christian was a great kid and an amazing soccer player. I played soccer with him on ODP over the winter months. He was a quiet guy with amazing strength. It’s sad that someone so young has to go so soon.

Up until this point, I’ve never had anyone my age pass away. It’s hard for me to even write this because I don’t know what to think or say.

Over the short period of time I spent with Christian, here is what I saw…

• He was a gentle giant, one of the nicest guys and a monster soccer player.
• He came across secure in who he was. He was humble and didn’t have to prove himself.
• He had a powerful foot. He could put in shots from almost half field.
• He was quiet & focused. When he showed up for competition, you could tell that his head was in the game.
• Everyone liked him. There was nothing not to like about Christian. Nice cool guy.
• He was a dangerous player. His size and ability allowed him to plow through defenders and position himself for some killer plays
• He was feared and respected by other teams.

It was obvious that Christian had a great future ahead of him on the field and off the field. We will all miss him and he will never be forgotten.

To honor his memory, Charity Ball will be donating 50 new soccer balls to kids in Africa in his name


Making it Count!

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This past weekend I was presented with a check on behalf of Charity Ball for $1,318.55.

It wasn’t directly from a company or somebody who has a large bank account, instead it was from a team of 11 twelve-year old boys. Chris Hofland’s U12 USA soccer team (Holland, MI) went out and did odd jobs to raise money for Charity Ball and to help poverty-stricken kids around the world receive new, quality soccer balls. Some of the guys went out and sold doughnuts at soccer games, some raised money at garage sales and others were courageous enough to ask their friends and family for cash donations. This is so cool. It goes to show that you don’t have always have to be an adult in order to help people. Kids too can can make a difference and change the world. A big thanks to the USA U12 Soccer Team. Way to go guys!