As many of you already know, I play club soccer for Midwest United out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Midwest is a great club with some amazing coaches. I’m honored to be a part of such a program.
Often times during our training sessions we’ll use a set of cones to form a small goal for small-sided games or 2v2’s. However, this past week, a new type of goal was introduced. This wasn’t just your standard 3×3 off-brand, PVC, goal. It was strong and sturdy like a full-sized goal, but it was also able to fold flat and be easily carried. Intrigued by this product, I took a closer look and noticed two “Bounce Athletics” logos on the crossbar. For those who don’t know, Zach and the guys at Bounce are awesome and one of our partners at Charity Ball.
Sure enough, when I got home and visited their site, the Dynamo Goal was there. I have to say that this goal is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen as far as size, stability, and practicality goes.
Thumbs up to Bounce on a sweet invention! For more information and to get a better look, check out the Dynamo Goal here.
With the Euro 2016 and the Copa America tournaments taken place, it is hard not to notice all the new cleats on the pitch.
Spark Brilliance Pack
About a month ago, Nike released their new Spark Brilliance Pack with an entirely new batch of color ways. The Hyper Venom and The Mercurial lines have been completely re-engineered. The Hyper Venom goes “back to the future” by using a rendition of the first skin that was introduced back in 2013. The Superfly and Vapor has also been entirly remodeled with a new skin and sole plate that is 40% lighter and a new traction system that is designed for insane speed. In my opinion, Nike did a great job with their new pack. Check em out here.
Adidas Mercury Pack
Adidas has also been busy. Recently they introduced The Mercury Pack which contains two new boots for 2016. The X16+ PURECHAOS and the MESSI 16+ PUREAGILITY. This set has a brand new TECHFIT lacing system that allows the player to tuck their laces inside a flap on the cleat. Adidas’ new PURECUT SOCK SYSTEM keeps the laces out of sight to give the player an upgraded aerodynamic effect. Both cleats have new skins and sole plates that result in lighter weight and better traction. The pack’s color ways are super sweet and shine bright on the pitch just like mercury. Check em out here.
Last week Sunday morning, the Total Sports Complex in Novi Michigan was the site for a competitive indoor soccer tournament hosted by Carlie Castiglione in an effort to raise money and awareness for Charity Ball.
Carlie spent months planning and organizing the “Let’s Kick It! “event; obtaining a venue, registering teams, pulling in sponsors, and requesting donations for raffles and food. She also rallied her classmates from Northville High School to participate, and over 50 students played in the charity soccer event. Since I was in the area, I decided to check it out, and I was able to ask her a few questions.
Q: “Tell me about a little bit of what’s going on here today.”
A: “Today I’m running a soccer tournament and donating the proceeds to Charity Ball. For this soccer tournament each team is guaranteed three 35 minute games, then semi’s and finals.”
Q: “What does it mean to help kids?”
A: “It means a lot to me, I actually love doing it. Monday for (soccer) team practice we taught Special Ed kids how to play soccer. It makes me feel good about it because everybody has helped me so much; and giving back is the right thing to do.”
Q: “You could be doing anything else today. What’s your motivation for doing something like this?”
A: “To help you and help everybody else. I mean, everybody deserves a little bit of help.”
Q: “Do you have advice to anyone who’s thinking about doing something like this?”
A: “Go for it. It’s a lot of work but it really pays off in the end!”
Q: “What are your future plans?”
A: “Maybe next year to do something like this again and get more people out here!”
Huge props to Carlie for raising a total of $1,674! Her efforts will help give new soccer balls to over 65 kids in poverty-stricken communities. Way to go!
If you are interested in doing a charity event or online fundraiser for Charity Ball, please contact us.
Like most of the guys on my Midwest United FC team, I’m beginning to narrow my focus and strategically train to compete on a collegiate level following my senior year next year.
A couple of weeks ago, while most people were exchanging gifts, I spent Christmas in the car traveling to Orlando, Florida to compete at the Disney Soccer Showcase. University coaches and scouts came to watch some of the top teams and players in the nation compete.
Disney had to be one of the coolest venues I’ve ever played at. The facility at ESPN World Wide Sports is incredible – soccer fields as far as the eye can see with grass cut to perfection. Just being there and walking the property the day before the tournament was astounding.
We arrived on Saturday night and one of my first stops was the registration office in the Hilton Hotel on Disney’s campus. Let me tell you, that’s a crazy hotel. The swimming pool was ridiculous and about the size of a fairway. I went to the gathering area to meet up with the tournament director, Mark Luster and chat about Charity Ball. Mark is an awesome guy. I gave him an update and set his team up with several copies of the Charity Ball “Pass The Ball” Book along with some new decals. Afterwards, our family hopped in the car and headed to our hotel to call it a night.
The next morning was an early one. Our first game was at 8:30am, but I had to wake up at 6 to eat, get ready, and be there on time. Even though it’s a struggle waking up early, I love morning games. The dew on the grass that morning helped create the perfect conditions for an intense game.
We got the lead early off a breakaway by Jalin who tucked the ball into the back of the net. Our next goal didn’t come until the second half after another breakaway by J who notched it into the right upper 90 – leaving the keeper with no chance. The other team eventually got a goal, but it was nothing more than consolation after Alex added one on late to make it 3-1 for the final score. The rest of the day was basically hydrate, hydrate, hydrate plus protein and more protein.
Game 2 was the next day at 4:30pm against De La Sol. The game stated while the sun was still up, and ended under the lights. It was a tough contest. De La Sol got a nice goal about halfway through the first half and we had to fight our way back. We had a few chances in the first half but were unable to capitalize. It wasn’t until the 80th minute that we were able to score through a nice ball from my buddy Kev into Mo who hit it off the volley into the bottom corner. The game ended as a 1-1draw.
Game 3 was a must-win. It was in the middle of the day and extremely hot. We started out a little slow, but kicked it into gear towards the last few minutes of the second half. The ball popped to the outside and we were able to get a cross in that Cam who placed it neatly in the left corner. Sam added another one before the half but so did the other team which made it 2-1 at break. At this point we looked over to the field across the sidewalk and saw that De La Sol was losing so all we had to do was hold on for the win. Although it was tough, that’s exactly what we did and made it to the championship.
It was the final day.10:45 kick-off against Sporting FC. It wasn’t our best performance. We weren’t playing as strong as we had the past few games and Sporting capitalized on a mistake and took a 1-0 lead. Despite the few chances that we had, we were unable to hit back before halftime. Our coach gave us a good talk at the half and we built off of that and used it as motivation to get after it. Then, after 25 minutes we finally got one back. A bouncing ball came to me in midfield. I saw Sam making a run towards goal so I lobbed it up off of the half-volley over the defender and in his path towards goal. He ran onto it, played it across the frame of the goal and J knocked it in.
The rest of the 90 minutes was uneventful and overtime was necessary. Two 5-minute periods weren’t enough to decide the contest so penalties were next. After a series of strong PKs, our team was the first to miss. The next man for Sporting nailed his kick and won them the game. It’s always a bummer to lose in penalties, especially the final, but that’s soccer.
I’ve had the privilege to play in some very cool tournaments – South Africa, Nike, ODP Nationals etc. But I’ve got to say – Disney was one of the best.
Ever wondered what you could do to get involved with Charity Ball?
We’ve put together a short list of creative things people have done over the years to help volunteer, give back and share The Beautiful Game with kids around the world.
1. FIFA Tourney
Host a Playstation or XBox FIFA tournament. Entry fees can be donations to Charity Ball. 2. Retweet/Repost
Join the Charity Ball Social Team and repost and share @teamcharityball tweets. 3. Online Fundraiser
Start an Online Campaign. This involves rallying your friends and family to help you raise money online at charityball.org and reach your goal to give kids new soccer balls. 4. #MoreBeautifulBirthday
Instead of receiving presents for your birthday, invite your friends, family and birthday guests to make a donation to Charity Ball on your behalf. 5. Charity Soccer Game
Challenge your crosstown rivals to a charity soccer game. Ask each participant or team to contribute a certain dollar amount to help give kids living in poverty new soccer balls. 6. Throw a Party
Dedicate a night to host a fundraiser party for Charity Ball and invite all of your friends to come and donate. Examples include fish fry, barbecue, ice cream etc. 7. Lemonade Stand
Stir up some lemonade and make a batch of cookies to sell to help raise money for Charity Ball. 8. Charity Ball Tee
Purchase a Charity Ball T-shirt and wear it around to help promote the cause. Share your pix on social media using the hashtag #MoreBeautiful 9. Team Promo
Rally your teammates and friends to buy and wear Charity Ball shirts at tournaments and sporting events to promote the cause. We offer a discount on team orders. 10. Allowance
Donate some of your extra work or allowance money to Charity Ball to help another kid’s dream come true. 11. Donation Competition
Have a competition with your friends or family to see who can donate the most money to Charity Ball in a month. 12. Shootout Raffle
Ask your local varsity team if they will help host a penalty shootout raffle during halftime. 13. Charity of Choice
Ask your local varsity teams to host a charity night where the charity of choice is CB. 14. Bar or Bat Mitzvah
Designate Charity Ball as your coming-of-age charity for giving back. 15. Hand-Deliver Balls to Kids
Going to a developing a nation? Fill out an online ball request application for a chance at being a volunteer courier.
Have other ideas? Feel free to pass them along. We’ll add them to the list. As always, we’ll do what we can to help support & resource your efforts.
When we started the Charity Ball project back in 2010, we put together a little logo to make things more official. We simply needed a mark that would help people identify with who we were and what we were doing at the time.
For 5 years we rocked the above CB logo without giving much thought to whether or not it was indicative of who we were. After some recent evaluation, our team came to the conclusion that we could up the ante and create something more fitting.
So back in December we started working on a new corporate identity. We began by peeling everything back and re-affirming who we were as an organization. At the end of the day, Charity Ball is a soccer charity that’s defined by the sum of its parts. In other words, it’s generous, soccer-loving people (kids, businesses, clubs, groups) that make us who we are. On our administrative end, we’re committed to sharing the beautiful game with kids in need and making sure we do things with excellence along the way.
We eventually linked up with savvy New York designer, Shagari Guity who helped us formulate a clear direction. Shagari is super-cool and crazy-talented.
Our team distilled down the things we wanted to see come through in the new mark. We said its got to be:
Soccer Ball obvious
Something that inspires ownership
Something teams & groups can rally around
After stretching and pulling some concepts we finally landed on the quintessential design.
We’d like to introduce you to the new Charity Ball mark.
Not only is it a stand-along insignia, but it’s also dynamic – designed to integrate the corporate colors of Charity Ball sponsors.
When sponsors or strategic partners officially join us, our design team works with them to create a corporate-specific Charity Ball mark that includes their corporate colors.
For example, our good friends at Continental Tire partner with us in sharing the beautiful game with kids around the world. They are an integral part of what makes Charity Ball, Charity Ball. We want that to come across in our branding.
To accomplish it, we created a Charity Ball + Continental Tire-specific mark that integrates Continental Tire’s corporate colors. It’s a win/win because it allows us to keep our brand equity as an organization while underscoring the value we place on our partners. It also allows our partners to share their support in a unique way.
We’re launching the new Charity Ball logo along side a release campaign called #LeaveYourMark. The campaign is an invitation to join us by:
Next up in our series of Charity Ball All-Stars is a 7 year old kid from Florida, named Ethan Friedman. He started an online fundraising campaign called “Futbol for Friends” and was able to raise $2,050. Pretty impressive for a kid who’s only in first grade.
One day in school, after hearing about how kids in Peru gather up trash bags and twine in order to construct a soccer ball to play with, Ethan felt motivated to help. Unlike most people, he went beyond his intentions and started brainstorming possible ways of helping kids. After hearing about Charity Ball and discovering the possibility of starting up an online fundraiser, he was all in.
“I passed flyers out at school, told my friends and family, handed out Charity Ball books at my soccer training academy, and with the help of my parents, I sent emails and posted on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.”
Ethan really enjoyed seeing the donations come through on the website. He was super excited to help the kids, and humbled by peoples’ encouragement and support.
Huge props to a young guy who took action, and accomplished something big for his age. Thanks for your efforts Ethan!
I’d like to say real quick that one of my goals when I started Charity Ball, was to inspire and encourage kids. My hope was that they would be challenged to use what they love to do, and leverage it to help others. All-Stars like Kaveen Chandra and Ethan Friedman used what they love, to put the spotlight on other kids around the world who don’t have the same opportunities. That’s what it’s all about.
Recently, we’ve had an increasing number of kids wanting to start their own fundraiser campaigns for Charity Ball. As a result, we’ve decided to start a new blog series called “Charity Ball All-Stars.” Several of our campaign heroes will be featured and highlighted in these posts for the next few weeks.
First up… Kaveen Chandra – a 13-year old kid from North Carolina who started his own campaign, “Soccer For Hope” He’s already raised $2,196 and is on target for $2500. Check out what he has to say!
Ethan: What was your motivation for starting the “Soccer For Hope” campaign? Kaveen: One day my dad encouraged me to find a charity to donate to. I searched google for soccer charities and Charity Ball caught my eye. I realized that instead of just donating $50, I wanted to bring awareness to this charity to help kids all over the world so I started “Soccer For Hope”
Ethan: What are some of the creative things you did to raise money? Kaveen: Some things that I did to raise money were the easy things like emailing my friends and family. However, I asked them not to just donate but to pass on the word. My dad put my link on his Facebook page and I realized that was a brilliant idea. So now I ask people to put the link on their Facebook because that is a quick way for lots of people to see it. Another interesting idea that one of my mom’s colleagues had was to tweet soccer players asking for re-tweets and donations – so even if 10 of those soccer player’s fans donate that is 10 more soccer balls.
Ethan: What did people say when they heard about what you were doing? Kaveen: Most of the people that I asked for donations from donated and passed the word. They fully supported what I was doing and asked me if there was anything else they could do. I couldn’t have had more support throughout my journey.
Ethan: What was the best part? Kaveen: The best part about doing this is knowing that you are helping kids get HOPE, that is why my fundraising campaign is called Soccer For Hope. Being satisfied with what I have done means everything to me.
Ethan: What would you say to other kids that want to do something like you but don’t know how? Kaveen: I would tell other kids just go for it. You have nothing to be afraid of. The worst thing that could happen to someone who is trying to do what I am doing is that no one donates. But I’m 99.9% sure that’s not going to happen. Just go for it!
Ethan: So what’s next? Kaveen: What’s next for me… I don’t really know but I do know I am not quitting now. I just met with the owner of Dunn Physical Therapy (photo below) and I asked him to put up a flyer about Charity Ball. He loved the idea and even wants to put this on his website.
Way to go Kaveen! Thanx so much for your passion and huge heart.
All of us at Charity Ball are huge fans of the US Mens National Team. We also can’t say enough about Jesse Bignami and Michael Bradley. A couple weeks ago Jesse got with Michael and the two of them decided to team up and help spread the word on Charity Ball.
After some conversation, they moved to put together a super-cool raffle where the proceeds go to help give more kids new soccer balls. For this raffle Michael has donated a signed USA game jersey as well as a signed pair of boots that will be packaged together for one lucky winner.
In Jesse’s words…”For every $25 donation, you will get one entry into the raffle…and for each entry, one lucky kid in need will receive a new soccer ball. Everybody wins here!
To enter the raffle
Go to charityball.org and donate $25 or more, following the prompts to “Donate a New Soccer Ball.”
After receiving Kris Wienski’s report this morning, we just had to drop a quick post to let you know about the amazing stuff he’s doing. Kris has a soccer background and lives in Surket, Nepal. He coaches 2 boys and 2 girls youth soccer teams. Everyday they play on a dirt and rock field that has a 20 degree slope and broken bamboo goals. We met up with Kris in December and set him up with some new soccer balls to help support his project and the kids in the surrounding areas.
This past fall a horrific flood hit Surket and destroyed many of the homes and villages in the district. The kids who lived in these areas and had little-to-nothing to begin with, lost everything. Thousands of kids were displaced and are now living in make-shift tarp communities.
Moved by compassion, Kris has been visiting these flood camps and using the Beautiful Game to help kids cope and find a measure of hope. Part of his strategy is hand-delivering Charity Balls.
“Everyone has been very happy and grateful for the balls, both children and elders alike. It’s amazing how something as simple as a soccer ball can brighten and lively up the day for hundreds of people”, says Kris.
Within the next couple of weeks he plans to travel to other flood communities and surprise more kids with new balls.
We love what Kris is about and look forward to seeing how we can keep supporting his efforts to help kids rise above and experience a better life and brighter future.