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Disney Soccer Showcase: Midwest United FC U17

By Soccer Games

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.

Ways to Get Involved with Charity Ball

By Game Changers, Get Involved

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
Join the Charity Ball Twitter Team and retweet @charityballnews & @teamcharityball tweets.
3. Online Fundraiser
Start an Online Campaign. This involves rallying your friends and family to help you raise money online at 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.

Thanks for helping us share The Beautiful Game!

-Team Charity Ball

The New Charity Ball Mark

By News

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
  • Simple
  • Something that inspires ownership
  • Something teams & groups can rally around
  • Staying Power
  • Sick

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:

  1. Sharing the Beautiful Game with kids in need by making a financial contribution to Charity Ball
  2. Supporting the cause by donating a tweet or post using the hashtag #LeaveYourMark along with the new CB logo or what your doing with Charity Ball to help make kid’s lives more beautiful.

In the days ahead, we will be releasing new Charity Ball apparel, decals, and accessories with the new Charity Ball mark.

Stay Twitter-tuned to @charityballnews & @teamcharityball for release dates and more details.

Charity Ball All-Stars; Ethan Friedman

By Game Changers, Uncategorized

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.

Charity Ball All-Stars

By Fundraisers, Game Changers

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.

Michael Bradley Helps Charity Ball

By Game Changers

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

  1. Go to and donate $25 or more, following the prompts to “Donate a New Soccer Ball.”
  2. Once you receive your donation receipt, take a screen shot and email it to to enter.

Michael and Jesse will choose a winner on March 8th.

Good Luck!


Nepal: Soccer Balls for Displaced Children

By Game Changers, Recipients

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.

More to come.

Charity Ball’s Top 14 of 2014

By Uncategorized

Every year we look back and highlight some of the the best of the best that’s happened in the world of soccer and the world of Charity Ball. 2014 was an amazing year on many fronts. After sifting through all the good stuff, our team has identified what we consider the top 14 happenings of 2014.

Check em out.

14. Nike’s “Risk Everything” Campaign

Definitely one of the sickest soccer/football campaigns of 2014.

13. Charity Ball featured in People Magazine, Time, and Sports Illustrated

Huge thanks to the many media outlets that featured Charity Ball this past year.

12. Real Madrid vs. Manchester United at The Big House in Ann Arbor, MI & the 109,318 person wave

Without a doubt, one of the best soccer games ever.


11. Bumpy Pitch partners with Charity Ball, introduces new “Pass Back” Tee

Big props to Brian, Ben, ISPS and the guys. Thanx for the ongoing support!

10. Continental Tire partners with Charity Ball, donates 1000 Adidas Soccer Balls

The folks at Continental Tire are amazing. Watch our Twitter feeds for upcoming recipient pix.

9. Landon Donovan wraps up a stellar career

Arguably the most iconic US player ever. We’ll miss your presence on the pitch. Bonus Footlocker vid below.

8. Johnson & Johnson partners with Charity Ball to hand-deliver 500 new soccer balls to kids in Brazil

An incredible company that sincerely cares. Thanx for believing in what we do.

7. The reincarnation of the Nike Mercurial Superfly

Soccer innovation at it’s best.

6. Fox interview in Central Park with Bryan Llenas

Awesome interview, awesome guy. Thanx Bry.

5. Real Madrid wins the UEFA Champion’s League Final

Congrats to Los Blancos on winning La Décima!

4. Ethan King writes for the Huffington Post

Thanx for the opportunity HP!

3. The FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil & The USMNT

Thanx to Jurgen and the guys for giving us a reason to believe.

2. Katie Couric features Charity Ball & Ethan King on the Katie Couric Show

One of the sweetest ladies on the face of the planet. Katie, thanx for helping us make it more beautiful.

1. The incredible people across the planet who helped us make it happen in 2014

The real heroes. Charity Ball is what it is because of you!
HS Charity Ball group photo

Giving Back: 500 Soccer Balls to Kids in Brazil

By Ball Deliveries, Uncategorized

Two weeks ago I hopped a plane and flew to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, one of the recent host cities for the 2014 World Cup. Without a doubt, Rio is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. The style, the people, the vibe, the love of soccer/football – it’s all amazing. So much of the culture resonates with who I am as a person. I hope to get back there in the near future for an extended period of time to explore and learn more about the Brazilian way of life.

I learned that there two stereotypical perceptions of Rio; a exotic beach-city, or an illegitimate slum city. A majority of the people who live in the favelas are operating below the national poverty line and make less than $2,000 a year. While there definitely is a discrepancy between the metropolitan city, right off Copacabana beach, and the favelas on the outskirts, the truth is they’re both full of beautiful people who all have the same love & passion for the Beautiful Game.

Shortly after arriving we met up with our film crew. Brian Sewell was the production manager and a really great guy to work with. We loaded up a few vans and headed to the famous Salaron Steps to take some photos and shoot some B-roll for a video that will be released by Johnson & Johnson very soon. My bro, Jade, and I juggled and passed the ball around on top of the steps while the crew grabbed some footage. The steps were super-cool and a neat little enclave in the maze of city streets.

After finishing up at the steps, we traveled to a small bay area across from Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is one of the well-known landmarks in Rio. We shot some more footage and then headed over to Copacabana beach. Copacabana is awesome. It’s lined with sand soccer fields as far as the eye can see, as well as soccer-volleyball nets. I remember seeing glimpses of it on TV during the World Cup. We shot a few more scenes and called it a day.

The next morning was the main event. We got up early and headed to the center of the city. Charity Ball, Johnson & Johnson and Saúde Criança, (a local NGO that helps families break the cycle of poverty) hosted a special event for kids where we hand-delivered new Charity Balls. 500 kids who live in favelas received their own new soccer ball. I was really impressed with the collaboration and how the event was organized. It was excellent.

However, the best part was meeting the kids and seeing the anticipation on their faces as they arrived and waited to receive their new ball. The event was sweet. There was music, laughter, games, celebration, and I even got to dance with some of the Brazilian teenage girls. Not too bad.


The event wrapped up around 3pm and we headed over to see the Christ The Redeemer Statue. Apart from delivering the soccer balls to the kids, this had to be one of the coolest moments of the trip. Looking out across the skyline, seeing the city, the beach, the favelas, and the Maracana World Cup stadium was fantastic.

The real eye-opener came on the final day. We were able to connect with a guy by the name of Zezinho who actually lives in Rocinha, the largest mountain-side favela in Rio. Racinha_CharityBall

We all jumped on a bus and headed to the top. This time we chose a different tactic for hand-delivering balls. Zezinho knows a lot of the kids in Rocinha and helped us identify which ones would truly benefit from a gift like this. The first boy we gave a ball to couldn’t believe it. His name was Felipe. When I asked him if he wanted a new soccer ball, I could tell he didn’t think I was serious. I smiled, reached inside my case and grabbed a new Adidas soccer ball. As I began to inflate it, his face lit up with excitement. When I had finished and handed him the ball, his jaw dropped to the ground. He kept saying thank you over and over. I was personally moved by how grateful he was. It’s one of the moments where the power of generosity effects the person giving as much as the person who is receiving.

We hand-delivered 27 balls that day. 527 in all.

Special thanks to: Katie Couric, Johnson & Johnson, Alex Holland, Kelly Planer, Brian Walker, our friends at Saúde Criança, Wade Berger, Zezinho and The Dress Code Family in New York.

The Huffington Post invited me to write a an article about “What I learned about Love through Giving.” You can catch it here.

Nike Brazil Ordem Limited Edition Soccer Ball: Review

By Products, Uncategorized

“Did you see that bend!!??” was the first thing I said after striking the New Limited Edition Nike Ordem LE Brazil Match Ball. It was an awesome feeling and a crazy experience. This has got to be one of the sickest balls I have ever kicked. Not only does it look legit, it also performs off the chart.

Here’s the quick & dirty:

Look: The design and graphics on the ball are meant to be a symbol of celebration for Brazil hosting the 2014 Fifa World Cup. It celebrates the timeless sport of soccer with a graphic inspired by Brazil and Brazilian culture. It stands for the relentless pursuit of innovation to spark a revolution that will transcend the pitch, celebrate the soccer culture, and leave a legacy to the game we all love.

Touch: Unlike other soccer balls I own, this Nike match ball has a firmer bladder and softer skin. The core bladder is strong and substantial, making it more responsive and the unique skin creates a super-intimate touch. It’s insane!

Flight: Overall, the ball flies pretty true in the air. In other words, it goes where you want it to go.

Durability: If you take good care of this ball and keep it on the pitch, you shouldn’t have any problems with longevity. Remember, its a limited edition so if you use it for street or futsol and it get’s murdered, you won’t be able to exchange it for another one.

Fact: The Ordem LE is no longer available for purchase at If you’re lucky, you might be able to snag one off ebay for just under $600. Yep, that right six zero zero. That how much these bad-boys are going for.

I was fortunate enough to receive one of the first production models as a gift.
ordem ball

Keep passing the ball,