Ten year old Ella recently returned from a “vacation with a purpose” where she hand-delivered Charity Balls. Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria both left a devastating mark on the Turks and Caicos Islands where Ella, her mother Britt, and her grandmother Cindy went last month. They volunteered at a local primary school and hand-delivered new soccer balls to the kids.
Here’s what Ella had to share with us:
“One of the little boys, Alexis, who received a Charity Ball had recently lost his dad and was sent to live at the local orphanage. It was evident that he was having a very difficult time with the transition. When I told him he was getting his very own soccer ball and he could pick out which one he wanted, he couldn’t stop hugging us saying, ‘You mean I get to keep it?’ All day long he hung onto that ball and wouldn’t stop smiling. In fact, he wrote his name on it because he didn’t want anyone else to claim it 🙂 So many children were moved and lit up with smiles because of Charity Ball’s generosity. It brought us all to tears! Thank you so so much for helping make this mission possible!”
Ella, thank you for taking time out of your vacation to share the gift of soccer and make the lives of kids a little more beautiful!
WHO: Organized and launched by Kam Pirouz: a high schooler and competitive soccer player from the state of Maryland. You can check him out on instagram at @kamkampz
WHAT: Similar to the bracket challenge for the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, Kam has put together a contest for the World Cup. The entry fee of $10 goes towards the winning pot. 50% of the money will be given to the person with the most correct predictions while the other half of the pot will be donated to Charity Ball.
WHEN: The first game of the World Cup (Russia vs. Saudi Arabia) kicks off on Thursday @ 11 AM EST. Get your entries in by then.
WHY: Kam, along with a large proportion of the planet, is hyped for the World Cup. To provide an element of competition for those of us who won’t be playing on the pitch in Russia, Kam decided to launch a bracket challenge. However, to make it more significant than any other ESPN or FOX soccer challenge, he added the charity the aspect and is delegating 50% of the winning pot to Charity Ball.
Cheers Kam for your efforts and big heart. Help us celebrate the World Cup and help kids by entering the Charity Bracket challenge!
No matter where you travel in the world, you will find beautiful people playing The Beautiful Game. All you need is a ball.
To showcase the world’s love for the Game, we’ve compiled what we consider to be the 100 coolest places to play soccer. If you’ve ever seen or (better yet) played on any of these pitches, drop us a note on Twitter @teamcharityball, we’ love to hear about it.
100 Ice Soccer
Antarctica Photo: Frank Hurley
99 Roof Top Soccer
Miami, Florida, USA Photo: Brickell Soccer Roof Top
98 Empty Pool Soccer
Havana, Cuba Photo: Alexandre Meneghini
97 Indoor Soccer [Grand Park]
Westfield, Indiana, USA Photo: Grand Park
96 Naval Destroyer Soccer
USS Arleigh Burke Photo: Scott Pittman
95 Street Soccer
Times Square, NYC Photo: Street Soccer USA
94 Swamp Soccer
Hyrynsalmi, Finland Photo: Nokian Tires
93 Ruins Soccer
Paricatuba, Brazil Photo: Felipe Dana
92 5-a-side Soccer [Fives Futbol]
Cape Town, South Africa
91 Playmore Soccer [Moscova]
90 Renewable Energy Soccer [Morro da Mineira]
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
89 ESPN Wide World of Sports
Orlando, Florida, USA
88 Urban Pitch Soccer
Amsterdam, Netherlands Photo: Ford Europe
87 Midnight Soccer
Mocimboa Da Praia, Mozambique Photo: Ian Allen
86 Historical Soccer
Bambugh Castle, England
85 Crazy Cold Soccer
Tasiilaq, Greenland Photo: Grant Dixon
84 Pier 5 Soccer
Brooklyn, New York, USA Photo: Julienne Schaer
83 Hotspur Soccer [Tottenham Training Field]
Enfield, United Kingdom Photo: KSS Group
82 Underground Soccer
Paris, France Photo: Soccer Bible
81 Pick Up Soccer
Sorrento, Italy Photo: Swig
80 Stade Louis II Soccer
79 Lake Michigan Soccer [Northwestern University]
Evanston, Illinois Photo: Northwestern University
78 Build Your Own Soccer
77 Tavares Bastos Soccer
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
76 Macul Soccer [Estadio Monumental]
75 Favela Soccer
Sao Carlos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
74 Arctic Soccer
Qaqortoq, Greenland Photo: Steve Menary
73 French Riviera Soccer
La Turbie, Monaco Photo: AS Monaco FC
72 Favela Soccer
Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Photo: Charity Ball
71 Mud Soccer [Harbor Island]
Grand Haven, Michigan, USA Photo: Charity Ball
70 Arctic Circle Soccer
69 Changlimithang Soccer
68 2013 Snow Classico [DSG Park]
67 The Big Issue Soccer [Darling Harbour]
66 Alpine Soccer
65 Space Soccer
International Space Station Photo: NASA
64 Laser Light Soccer [Adidas Nitro Charge Pitch]
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
63 Bamiyan Soccer
62 5-A-Side Soccer [ProDirect Soccer]
61 Dome Soccer [Aspire Dome]
60 Cage Soccer [Thompson Flyover]
59 Parking Garage Soccer [University of Utah]
58 Near West Soccer
University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA
57 Mountain Soccer
Bilad Sayt, UAE
56 Parking Garage Soccer [Pomona College]
Claremont, California, USA
55 Train Station Soccer [Five Points MARTA Station]
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
54 Oil Rig Soccer
53 Salt Mine Soccer
52 Indoor Soccer [Soccer Coliseum]
Teaneck, New Jersey, USA
51 Africa Bush Soccer
Rongo, Kenya Photo: Charity Ball
50 Mini Pitch Soccer
Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
49 Street Soccer
Yangon, Myanmar Photo: Urban Pitch
48 Pier 40 Soccer [Hudson River Park]
NYC, New York, USA
47 Big Apple Soccer [Asphalt Green]
NYC, New York, USA
46 Play [well] Soccer
Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique Photo: Charity Ball
45 Evergrande Soccer
Qingyuan, Guangdong, China
44 Roof Soccer
Sao Paulo, Brazil Photo: Pillitz
43 Skyline Soccer
Tokyo, Japan Photo: Eric Meola
42 Taj Soccer
Agra, India Photo: Eric Meola
41 Beach Soccer
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
40 Ancient Soccer
Giza, Egypt Photo: Stecker
39 Quarry Soccer
Uluwatu, Indonesia Photo: Levon Bliss
38 Favela Soccer
Dona Marta, Brazil
37 Paradise Soccer
36 Cornfield Soccer
35 FIFA Soccer
Cape Town, South Africa
34 Floating Soccer
Ko Panyi, Thailand
33 Eiffel Soccer
Paris, France Photo: Pries
32 Church Soccer
Jaurez, Mexico Photo: Aguirre
31 Motor City Soccer [Keyworth Stadium]
Hamtramck, Michigan, USA Photo: Degennaro
30 Power Soccer [Osceola Heritage Park]
Kissimmee, Florida, USA Photo: Goodman
29 High-Rise Soccer [City Place]
Toronto, Canada Photo: Tait
28 BVB Soccer [Westfalenstadion]
27 Pickup Soccer [Griffith Park]
Los Angeles, California, USA
26 ‘The Bont’ Soccer [Pontcysyllte Aqueduct]
25 Gladiator Soccer [The Colosseum]
24 Scandinavian Soccer [Prioritet Serneke Arena]
23 West Coast Soccer [MacArthur Park]
Los Angeles, California, USA
22 Breathtaking Soccer
Celerina, Switzerland Photo: van der Meer
21 Sugarloaf Soccer
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Photo: Griffiths
20 Local Pride Soccer [Tabard Gardens]
London, England Photo: Fox
19 Andes Soccer
Urubamba. Peru Photo: Kass
18 Cocodrilos Soccer
17 Camp Nou Soccer
16 Himalayan Soccer
Annapurna Region, Nepal
15 Big Dome Soccer [Toyohira-ku]
14 God’s Country Soccer [Lake Tahoe Community College]
Lake Tahoe, California, USA
13 Rocky Mountain Soccer
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA
12 Zenit Soccer [Petrovsky Stadium]
St. Petersburg, Russia
11 Leicester City Soccer [King Power Stadium]
10 Urban Soccer [The Base]
9 Royalty Soccer [Buckingham Palace]
8 Winner Stays Soccer
7 Khayelitsha Township Soccer
Cape Town, South Africa Photo: Amandla EduFootball
Today we are launching a very unique fundraiser for us here at Charity Ball. This is the first time we have been given an official jersey from a historic English club, Southampton FC, which has been signed by the ENTIRE first team. You can now enter to win this awesome and distinct prize. However, I thought the back story behind the jersey would be worth noting, especially for die hard soccer fans.
The main man behind this jersey donation is Hugo Scheckter (@hugoscheckter on twitter). Hugo was born in the great state of Georgia (USA) and now lives in London. Soccer has been an integral part of Hugo’s life and career, which started with coaching in high school. He then studied Sports Business at George Washington University and continued to coach club and high school soccer. After graduating from GWU he was hired by Indy Eleven, an NASL team at the time. He then progressed to work as a Player Liaison Officer for Southampton FC for 3.5 years. This past March, he signed on with West Ham to work as their Head of Player Care.
As the Head of Player Care, Hugo’s primary objective is to make sure the players have everything they need off the field so they can be their best on the field. On match days he arrives 5 hours before kick off to arrange reserve tickets for players’ friends and families, set up sponsor visits and organize pre match meals. Once warm up begins Hugo’s work is more relaxed and he gets to take in the game from the bench. He really enjoys the relationships he gets to build with both players and their families.
To wrap things up, I asked Hugo if he has a favorite team that he didn’t work for, and his answer was surprising: “To be honest, soccer is my life and my career – so my time as a fan is over! My entire energy goes into making sure the players I work with are the best they can be, so I don’t really have time for following other teams. But from time to time I like to check in on clubs that I used to support when I was younger, like DC United and Indy Eleven.”
Hugo found us on Twitter and wanted to get involved with us right away. He loved how Charity Ball is different from many other charities in that we use soccer as a medium to improve children’s lives across the globe. You can expect to see more collaborations between Charity Ball and Hugo in the future!
Now that you know the story behind the jersey be sure to check out our online raffle drawing below for the signed Southampton Jersey.
Be sure to follow and tweet us about this story! @teamcharityball, @hugosheckter, @ethan_king5 (our founder)
WIN THIS SIGNED SOUTHAMPTON JERSEY!
For every $25 you donate (using the link below) your name will be entered into a drawing and a new, quality soccer ball will be given to a child. Enter as many times as you like.
Winner will be announced at half time during the FA Cup Semi-Final, Southampton vs Chelsea (April 22, 2018).
14 year-old Layne Chesney was roasting marshmallows during a bonfire on New Year’s Eve when a gas can exploded. 95% of her body was severely burned. Over the past 30 days she has been in critical condition, undergoing surgeries and treatment at the Kendall Medical Center in Miami.
Layne, we want you to know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
With the help of friends at Wilson Sports, Charity Ball founder Ethan King, and the Butler University’s Men’s Soccer Team put together a little video message for you.
Charity Ball was created to promote generosity and give people (both young & old) the opportunity to give back and make the world a little more beautiful for others—especially those going through challenging circumstances.
Evan Hoffman is a motorcycle rider and enthusiast who works for AIG (American International Group). After a visit to Africa almost 10 years ago, and learning that 6 million Africans die every year from preventable diseases, he decided to do something about it.
“I thought there must be a way to have an impact on a situation going from bad to worse. I began to think that there must be hundreds, if not thousands of bikers at AIG around the globe. What better way to have an impact than to engage the AIG biker community to help the cause? Bikers have always banded together and if you compound that with the giving spirit of AIG employees the possibilities are huge. We could have an enormous impact on a continent in dire need of help.”
In 2010 Evan launched ENGAIGERS, AIG’s global motorcycle network. The mission — engage the AIG biker community around the globe to raise funds for charitable organizations.
To kick things off he began rallying the AIG community, inviting them to ride for Virgin Unite’s Heaven’s Angels campaign. Heaven’s Angels provided motorbikes to rural healthcare workers in Africa who delivered medical supplies to people in need. Since 2010 over 300 bikers within the AIG Global Network have annually ridden and raised thousands of dollars for exemplary charities like Doctors Without Borders, The Susan G Komen Foundation and The Health & Social Development Foundation.
Evan being interviewed by NYC’s local news.
Evan (right) riding for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
This past summer, the ENGAIGERs picked Charity Ball as their 2017 charity of choice. True to form, members were invited to rally and ride for the cause during the months of July and August. Sponsored donations would match every mile/kilometer ridden up to $10,000. By the end of the project over 175 riders from 12 different countries logged 16,000+ miles!
ENGAIGERS submitted a photo of their odometer and a readable date reference at the beginning and end of the fundraising period.
On behalf of Charity Ball, we want to thank Evan and the ENGAIGER community for their incredible work and the $10,000 gift. We’re convinced that there is nothing better than using what you love to do to make the world more beautiful for others. Keep riding, keep making a difference!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about working with children over the past five years in rural Uganda, it’s that kids love soccer. When everything else seems so unfair or uneven in a community that has abundant need, a game of soccer can be a way to level the playing field. A simple game played with a single piece of equipment (a ball) has the power to bring together people from different backgrounds, beliefs, tribes and cultures to achieve a common “goal”.
This past July, Far Away Friends partnered with Charity Ball to hand-deliver 24 soccer balls to kids in Namasale, Uganda where we work to alleviate education poverty by supporting schools in rural communities.
Our first stop in Namasale was the school that we opened in 2016, Global Leaders Primary School (GLP). Our team was warmly welcomed by our fifteen-member Administration, Teaching and non-Teaching staff who were excited to hear about our latest partnership with Charity Ball. They’d been busy planning GLP’s very first official soccer game against Namasale Central Primary School (another primary school located outside of the village in town) who they’d invited to play on our unfinished and thorny (but large!) pitch.
As our team began unpacking soccer balls one after another, our teaching staff (most notably Teacher, Sebastian, who has a deep love for soccer as a means of teaching teamwork, empathy and trust) were completely in awe. The look on their faces was something we’ll be sure not to forget for years to come.
We’d decided that we would keep several of the balls at GLP. The rest would be brought to the kids at the neighboring primary and secondary schools, and given as a gift to extend a hand of friendship. Next year, we plan to launch a program through which we will be able to support the needs and development of more schools in the Namasale area. The ability to gift a soccer ball to the kids at the schools we hope to work with, as a symbol of our future partnership, was an invaluable asset to our organization.
The day of GLP’s soccer match was one of our proudest days as an organization. Watching the students come alive and fearlessly compete against an established, (physically superior) across town team was an incredible experience.
For the last half of the game, we decided to do away with the tattered ball we’d been using and introduce one of the new soccer balls from Charity Ball. At this point of the game GLP was tied with Namasale Central 1-1. As if our own Charity Ball brought us good luck, our team scored two consecutive goals and won our very first soccer game against another school. After the final whistle, our entire staff — Ugandan AND American — stormed the field, hugging our students and screaming victory songs in the local language.
By: Jayme Ward, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Far Away Friends, Inc.
Huge props to Jayme Ward and her staff & volunteers at Far Away Friends. Thanks for the empowering work that you’re doing for kids in Uganda. We’re so glad that the Charity Balls that you delivered were not only meaningful to the kids, but also a significant asset to your ongoing efforts.
David is a student-athlete who is hard-core about his academics. At age 14 he’s already planning to attend an eastern US Ivy League school like Harvard or Yale. When he’s not hitting the books, he’s hitting the pitch and doing what he loves most—playing the game of soccer.
A resident of Tokyo, Japan, David plays for his American school team in the forward, winger and midfield positions. “Dribbling and taking players on is what I really enjoy,” he said.
At the beginning of summer David dropped us a note and indicated that he wanted to do something to give back. His bar mitzvah was coming up and his Rabbi encouraged him to use it raise money for a charity. With a passion for The Beautiful Game, Charity Ball made perfect sense.
After defining a big goal of $2000, he went right to work—setting up an online campaign page and inviting people in his circle to donate.
He also invited friends and family to come to an organized event on the roof of his synagogue. Here’s where it gets really cool. David’s Rabbi has a soccer-loving dog named Peter. Believe it or not, Peter is an insane goal keeper. No lie, this dog can compete with the likes of De Gea, Buffon and Neuer.
David set up a couple small goal nets and gave his guests the opportunity to shoot on Peter. Guests simply needed to make a donation in any amount to get 5 shots. If you hit the net, you’d win a prize. You’d think it would be pretty easy to score on a dog. Not Peter. David said that Peter stopped almost every shot. Check out the video below to see Peter warming up against David.
When everything was said and done, David raised a total of $3,352—that’s 137 new soccer balls. “The word Mitzvah means doing something good for others. That’s what this project has been all about,” he said.
We asked David if he had any words of advice for other kids his age.
He went on to say, “No matter how young or old you are, you can always make a difference, even if it’s a small difference. A little thing can sometimes change the world for a person, and when you give, it can also change the world for you.”
One hundred percent!
David, thanks for helping make kids’ lives more beautiful. Our world needs more game-changers like you!
In 2016, travel restrictions from the USA to Cuba were historically lifted, making it possible for Americans to visit. Wanting to make the most of this historic opportunity, Charity Ball courier, Ginger Lu, booked a flight and set out to make the world a little more beautiful for kids on the island nation.
By: Ginger Lu. Ginger is a freelance writer located in Chicago, IL.
Walking through the streets of Old Havana, the first thing that caught my eye were the rows and rows of colorful, but decrepit houses, and then the sounds of street vendors selling their batido de mamey or guarapo, drinks made from sugarcane and guava fruits. I rounded one corner and found myself in an old abandoned parking lot, which graffiti artists had turned into a place where children come to play sports. Even on a hot summer day, there were many children of all ages playing a pick-up game of soccer with a ball made of newspaper and crushed soda cans tied up with a piece of twine.
I approached one of the youths, Carolos, an aspiring professional soccer player at eight years old who was watching his older brother Jaime play a game with his friends. He told me that they came to the park to play every day after school. The rising popularity of the sport in recent years can be explained by increased access native Cubans have with the rest of the world. Both children and adults can be seen playing pickup games on empty alleys and streets, making do with what little they have. Soccer fever has caught and spread with the young men of the island nation. However, soccer balls are still hard to come by for the majority of players. Apart from government and military officials, the majority of the citizens of Cuba make salaries that equal our $20 a week. Carlos said that on some days, they would have a ball to play with. More often than not, they would have to wait at least an hour until one of the lucky kids that owned a ball arrived so that they could start a game. I put one of Charity Ball’s new soccer balls in his hands and told him,”para ti, de tus amigos en los Estados Unidos.” For you, from your friends in the United States. He shouted with joy and ran off to show his brother and their friends. Within seconds, I was surrounded by happy kids hoping to get their hands on one of these prized possessions as well.
Children in the United States take these simple moments for granted, but for a child growing up in poverty, these moments mean more to them than words can explain. Jaime told me that they keep up with their favorite players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and aspire to be like them one day. Having the necessary equipment to practice will help them get one step closer to their dreams. With increased travel to Cuba opening up from the United States, we can begin to make more of a difference as time goes on to positively impact futures for hundreds of children.