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Charity Ball’s Top 14 of 2014

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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

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

“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,


Katie Couric & Charity Ball Founder, Ethan King

A few weeks back I flew to New York and did an interview with Katie Couric on the Katie Couric Show. First, I want to say that Katie is one of the coolest, nicest people you’ll ever meet. She’s a lot fun and obviously cares about the world and the needs of others. Katie’s team is also amazing – especially producer Lori Beecher. The entire team treats you like you’re the most important person on the planet. Prior to the interview I spent about an hour and a half in an ABC green room. Every 5-10 ten minutes Lori or one of Katie’s other producers would come down and check on me. Gearing up for the show is sort of like gearing up for a big game. Your heart pumps fast and you do all you can to focus yourself on what’s in front of you. As I walked down the stairs and behind the set, I could feel the butterflies starting to move around in my stomach. They checked my mic, set me up with a little makeup and gave me a quick overview of when and where I needed to go.

When I finally entered the stage, and sat down in the chair across from Katie, it was like the game had started. The adrenaline kicked in and I felt right at home. Honestly, it was a lot of fun! The best part was right towards the end of the segment when a stagehand brought out a wheelbarrow full of soccer balls. Katie said that Johnson & Johnson loved what we were doing and was giving 500 soccer balls to Charity Ball that would be donated to kids in Brazil. How sweet is that?

I want to thank Katie and her team for the cool opportunity and the meaningful experience. I also want to thank the folks at Johnson & Johnson for the distinguished honor of being named a Champion of Care.

Winning Kick

About 6 months ago I was contacted by two brilliant people named Scott Balaban and Elizabeth Sarquis. Elizabeth is the founder and CEO Global Gaming Initiative and Scott is the Development Director. GGI helps those in need around the world through entertaining and inspiring mobile games. They had the great idea of creating a game for the iPhone and Android platforms that would promote and help sponsor Charity Ball. For the last half a year, we’ve been working with them to bring this idea to life.

The game is called “Winning Kick” and the objective is to score as many goals as possible in 30 seconds. It applies some of the simple fun of Flappy Bird and also has a classic 80’s arcade game feel. It is very addicting, and in some moments you to want to throw your phone across the room, which is part of the thrill and experience, right? Not only are you having fun playing the game, you’re also helping get brand new, quality soccer balls to kids in poverty-stricken communities around the word. It’s a win-win and the perfect way to give back — 50% of the proceeds to go Charity Ball!

Go to the app store now and get in the game:
for Android or for iPhone

Fox’s World Cup Correspondent Interviews Ethan King

Fox’s national correspondent, Bryan Llenas caught up with with our founder, Ethan King while he was in New York City last week. (Bryan is currently down in Brazil covering the latest and greatest World Cup action) While kicking the ball around in Central Park, the two of them talked Charity Ball and the mission to share The Beautiful Game with kids around the world. US Fox affiliates aired the story over the weekend. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out below.

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Naperville Fire: Playing for Something Bigger

A few weeks back, a small U12 team from Naperville, Illinois decided they all wanted to play for something bigger. They designated one of their final league games to raise money and help kids around the world get new, quality soccer balls. I caught up with Coach Chris Bonney for quick interview on how things went.

kids playing for something bigger

Ethan: Whose idea was it to dedicate a season game to play for Charity Ball?

Chris: I learned about Charity Ball through Twitter. I’ve been following so many things around the 2014 FIFA World Cup and your organization popped up. I checked out your website and watched the “Pass the Ball” video and fell in love with the idea. I was surprised I had not heard of it before. When I saw a picture on the website of a team wearing Charity Ball shirts (LINK), I thought, “this is perfect, exactly what we want to do”. We have a great bunch of kids on our team who understand the power of generosity and are always looking for good things to do. When I told them about my idea, they fell in love with it.

Ethan: Why did you guys decide to do this?
Chris: Once we were familiar with Charity Ball and understood the level of awareness we could bring to our community, friends, families, and other soccer compadres – we thought it would be a great way to get the word out. We love what Charity Ball does. We think it’s a really cool thing. Like you, we wanted to give back.

Ethan: What would you say to other teams/clubs/people that are thinking about doing something similar?
Chris: I would say go for it! Do it tomorrow if you can. Do it every game! It was a great experience, not only working with your organization, but also having people say to you, “Hey, what’s Charity Ball?” It’s not only a great way to bring attention to soccer, but also what soccer can do for others.

Ethan: What was your favorite part?
Chris: Other than winning the game, it was each step of the game. The refs lined us up and we told them that we were playing to help kids around the world get new soccer balls. The same day we played for Charity Ball we did crazy sock day, so it was cool wearing CB shirts and having our kids wear all these random soccer socks! Afterwards, as we walked through the line to shake hands, we gave everyone on the other team a CB card/ flyer to show them what we were playing for that day. Also, at halftime, (for our cheer) instead of saying, “Go Fire”, we said, “Go Charity Ball.”

Ethan: How did it make you and the kids feel that you were playing for something bigger?
Chris: Awesome. It felt awesome! When we went to a Chicago Fire MLS game the next day, everyone showed up in their Charity Ball shirts, and we didn’t even plan it. Everyone went home that night, washed their shirt and wore it the next day. It showed how passionate the kids were about your organization and making a difference. They all also wore them to school on Friday. I also think as a coach, it also inspired them to play better as well.

Chris, thanx for the interview, and special thanx to team Naperville Fire for helping us share The Beautiful Game with other kids around the world. Better yet, thanx for reminding all of us that kids can make a difference and change the world.

Refuse to be Dominated: We Believe

Just over 200 years ago, a small group of passionate people rose up and fought for a dream. They believed that a life marked by freedom, liberty and justice for all was possible. They made plans, took risks and sailed to a new world. As fate would have it, the long arm of oppression soon followed and attempted to rob them of their dream.

Refusing to be dominated, they rose up. Fueled by insane conviction, they fought hard, gave it everything they had and eventually won.

Today, the USA is one of the greatest countries in the world.

And although (2 centuries later) we have our challenges, one thing remains the same – our freedom! We are free today because a handful of people onced believed.

That same spirit that forged America years ago lives in us today. It’s what drives us to dream even bigger dreams and rise above anything and anyone who may seek to dominate us in life or on the field.

In the 2014 World Cup group stage we will immediately face 3 teams (Germany, Ghana & Portugal) that will do everything they can to dominate and rob us of our dream. However, we have something far greater than talent, fame or endorsements.

We have the unbelievable power to believe.

ESPN’s new 2014 World Cup commercial is a testimony to who we are and how we operate as a nation. We dream. We plan. We work. We rise up. We fight.

We believe.

-Team Charity Ball

All 2014 World Cup Jerseys

There have been so many sick jerseys released for the FIFA 2014 World Cup. We’ve talked about how how cool it would be to see them all of them in one place. So rather than waiting, we pulled them together ourselves. Below are all the home and away jerseys for each national soccer team participating in this years World Cup in Brazil. Enjoy.

Group A
Cameroon. jpg

Group B

Group C
Ivory Coast

Group D
Costa Rica

Group E

Group F
Bosnia Herzegovina

Group G (Group of Death)

United States

Group H

South Korea

Google Images
Footy Headlines
Yahoo Images
World Soccer Shop

Mercurial Vapor: Tropical Pack

As the countdown to the World Cup continues, Nike has released another pair of stunning boots – The Mercurial Vapor Tropical Pack. They come on the backside of Nike’s re-released “Flashback Pack” which is a renovated version of all the Nike World Cup shoes starting in 1998. Nike chose the “Tropical” title because the boot is supposed to mimic the shapes and colors of the Amazon.

The new graphic is very bold and fits the title. Consisting of three different colors, Hyper Turquoise, Laser Orange, Flash Green, the boot is a limited edition and only 2500 of each color way are being released. (Each pair will have its own number)

The Nike Mercurial Vapor Tropical pack still includes the famous “All Conditions Control” (ACC). The stud pattern on the shoe is similar to the most recent Mercurial boots. This boot features the same Teijin upper as on the Nike CR7 boot.

Overall, I really like the new look. Personally I would like to see Nike release more and more boots leading up to the World Cup. I’m curious to hear what you guys think. Connect with us on Twitter or through email – Z

Twitter @cbzach


Image Source: Soccer Bible