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Last year I sent some soccer balls to Jason Hovingh in Kenya. He used them to launch a cool soccer league that is now growing and really making a big difference.
Ethan: What inspired you to start the new program?
Jason: We asked ourselves, “what could we start that would encourage young people?” We came up with the idea of a soccer league. I knew we had enough soccer balls, thanks to Charity Ball!
Ethan: Tell us about the kids who are involved.
Jason: There are over 130 youth who are participating in the league so far. They all come from the nearby communities that are very poor. Most play barefoot, but dream of one day having their own cleats. Each team was given a ball from Charity Ball.
Ethan: How does the league work?
Jason: We have 12 teams and a lead committee that governs the league. Games are played on the weekends and teams play each other twice. 3 points are awarded for a win and 1 point for a tie. We have volunteer refs and linesmen. There are vendors who sell snacks and sodas, so the spectators have been numerous.
Ethan: What are you hoping to accomplish with the program?
Jason: We hope to point the players to God and encourage lifestyles that are responsible.
Ethan: What has the experience been like for you?
Jason: I have been surprised how many teams sprung up to join the league. I am also surprised how many spectators come to watch. I recently injured my ACL in a soccer match, and later had surgery. I was surprised how compassionate the people in the league were to me. They would run and get me a chair to sit on while I arrived on crutches to watch the matches and hang out with the youth. The assistant chief commented on Monday that the crime rate has gone down since the league started.
Jason shared with me that he would love for all 130 kids to have their own soccer balls. Jason, we’re going to help you make that happen. Keep up the great work!