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The PLAY [well] Cup

Back in January, I received an email from Neven Subotic. If you follow the game you know Neven #4 plays center back for Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund is one of the best clubs in Europe (currently the only unbeaten team in the Champions League). Neven contacted me and asked if I’d give him a call, so I did.

A lot has happened since then. Over the past few months we’ve worked together (with the help of Vox United and Food for the Hungry) to organize a youth soccer tournament for the kids of rural Mozambique.

In mid June, after the Champions League finals, I’ll be flying out and meeting Neven in Mozambique. We’re hosting the tournament, leading a training clinic and hand-delivering over 500 new Adidas soccer balls. The entire project is called the Play [well] Cup and is being presented by Charity Ball and the Neven Subotic Foundation. My coach and trainer, Brent Kowalski, who founded Heart Soccer Academy, will be joining us in Africa to help lead the training clinic. We’re also underwriting the installation of 2 new water wells so the people can drink clean water. One well has already been sponsored and my brother, Jade is leading the charge to find sponsors for the second one.

Mozambique (in southern Africa) is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most kids who live in these difficult situations will never have an opportunity to touch a real soccer ball, let alone own one, and then meet a professional soccer player from Europe. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Pulling off something like this requires a lot of work and some sweet sponsors. Right now half of the project is being sponsored by Charity Ball, Neven Subotic Foundation, Bumpy Pitch, Iedesigns, Heart Soccer Academy and few other anonymous donors.

It’s going to be amazing!

Want to help?

Here are two things you can do to help:

1. Business or Club Sponsorships 

I’m looking for like-minded people, businesses and soccer clubs that will invest and help make the project happen. My goal is to have all the project funds secured by May 1. If you like what we’re doing, we could really use your financial support. Contributions can be made toward the bottom of the Donate Page under “Make a General Donation”

If you’re connected to businesses or clubs that might be interested, let me know. If you have any questions, drop me an email or tweet. I’d be happy to talk with you.

2. Give Clean Water

The new community well that Jade is raising money for costs about $5K. He’s raised about $1K. This well will give close to 1500 people sustainable, clean water. If you do the math, that’s just a little over $3 per person. For $3 you can give someone the gift of clean water and the gift of life. If you want to help, you can donate here.

Thanks for caring. Thanks for helping.

Charity Ball: World Tour Update 03.17.13

Tom Bearor is currently traveling the world by sea- representing Charity Ball and hand-delivering new soccer balls to kids in 10 different countries. Check out this little update…

From Tom…

Deliveries have been amazing.

I have one story that I would love to share. One of my good friends on the ship was independently traveling in Burma. While walking down a few streets and alleyways, he stumbled upon a dirt soccer field with buildings surrounding it. He saw a few boys playing on the field with marbles – because they did not have a soccer ball.

He thought to himself, “What I wouldn’t give for one of the Charity Ball soccer balls at this very moment.” He has personally accompanied me in hand-delivering balls on the tour and has seen the joy it brings to children. He left the field, a little bummed. But after leaving, he noticed a mom and pop shop that was selling soccer balls. Without hesitation, he bought a ball. He then headed back to the field and played soccer with the kids for some time. When he needed to leave, he waved goodbye and started walking. One of the boys ran to him with the ball and held it out trying to give it back.Once my friend was able to communicate that the ball was a gift for them, the boys started jumping up and down in celebration. Back on the ship my friend told me that if it wasn’t for the Charity Ball project we’re doing, he never would have thought of doing what he did.

This is one of my favorite stories that I could ever tell. It proves that what we’re doing is not only making a difference in the lives of kids in developing nations, but also the students on the ship traveling the world. Any student who has had the opportunity of gifting soccer balls with me, or with Semester at Sea service trips has felt that it has been the best thing they have done on this voyage.

Tom, thanks for the update. Hopefully it will inspire other people around the world to do the same. -E

Play [well]

Many of you know my younger brother, Jade. He’s 11 years-old.

For sometime he’s been wanting to help do something to help people in Africa receive clean water. He came up with this idea of putting together a campaign that raises money through our partner organization, Vox United. I thought it was a great idea and so here is what we are going to do.

Charity Ball is partnering with Vox United to share the beautiful game and the gift of clean water with a village in rural Mozambique. Right now millions of people in Africa do not have access to clean water. Together we can change that.

To get the ball rolling, we’ve launched a PLAY [well] Campaign. Our goal is to raise $5000 to install a new community well that will give about 1500 people clean water. That’s about $3 per person or cup a coffee at Starbucks. For every $66 donated to the campaign Charity Ball will match it with a brand new, quality soccer ball. Why $66? Because $66 represents water for 22 people, which is the number of players on a soccer field during a game.

In the end, the village will have clean water and 76 new soccer balls to play the beautiful game for a long time. It’s going to be really cool.

Charity Ball will get the soccer balls, but we need your help to get the water.

Check this out…

If 152 people donate $33 each, it’s done.
If 50 people donate $100 each, it’s done.
If one business donates 5K, it’s done.

Want to help us get it done? You can donate to the campaign here.

Thanks for helping us bring the gift of play and clean water to people who need and deserve it most.

Oh, if you haven’t already followed Jade on Twitter, you can do so here @charityballjade

Charity Ball World Tour: Vietnam Update

Big Thanks to Tom Bearor, Emily Wood and Jackie Faryniarz for the leadership they’re bringing to the 2013 Charity Ball World Tour!

If you’ve been reading the Charity Ball Blog lately, you know that these guys have been on a ship the last several weeks visiting countries and hand delivering Charity Balls to kids in Asia. They are doing an amazing job. Tom just emailed me some pictures and a way-cool report from Vietnam. Check it out!

The ball deliveries have taught me more than I would have ever expected. Even at the age of 20, I am still learning about giving. Nay, I am still learning about the power of giving. Just like Ethan realized after gifting his first soccer ball, I am realizing the joy a ball can bring children. I had traveled before this trip, but never realized the power a gift as simple as a soccer ball can bring children. I am learning that a soccer ball brings more to children than a smile on their faces, or a ball to their home. A ball brings with it a world of new adventure, building of friendships in matches and passing games, and solitude in improving their skills, individually.

The gifting of balls has been nothing short of fantastic. Besides better teaching me the power of giving, we have been able to give children a smile that can last time and time again. A soccer ball will not leave them when I do, but will stay as a gift that keeps on giving. For example, after gifting balls to a group of local children and continuing my journey down the Mekong Delta, in Vietnam, I was pleased to see on my way back that hours after I had left, children were still outside playing.

Thank you, Ethan. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, and for making it possible for over 500 children to share in the love of the game of soccer. Every kid deserves a ball.

Tom, thanks for what you’re doing! -E

Beyond Your Intentions

We’ve been talking about intentions lately at the King house. As a matter of fact this blog post is a result of some conversation around the table.

Everybody has good intentions from time to time. But what is the point in having a good intention if you never do anything about it?

When it comes to soccer, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve my game. After training sessions, I take time to evaluate my play. I write down the things I did well and things that need work. My intention is always to do something about the things that need work and get better. However, I’ve discovered that good intentions aren’t good enough. If I’m going to get better, I’ve got to move. I’ve got to practice. I’ve got to train. I’ve got to “do.” Intention without action is nothing. If I’m going to get better, I’ve got to act.

I’ve learned that it works the same way with Charity Ball. There millions of impoverished kids out there who would love to have their own soccer ball, but will never get one because of where they live. I can spend my entire life intending to do something about it, but unless I act, nothing will happen. I’ve got to get beyond my intentions.

Charity Ball started a few years ago with a simple act of giving away a soccer ball to kids in Africa. It really wasn’t a big deal. It was kind of a small deal. Through the process I’ve learned that a small act of kindness is more powerful then the greatest intention. One small act of kindness can change the entire world – for a kid, a family a village, maybe even a country. Imagine what several small acts of kindness could do.

If you read this blog, chances are good you love the Beautiful Game and have intentions to share it with others. Cool! Let me challenge you to get beyond your intentions and do something about it.

Want to help us share the Beautiful Game? Here are 10 small things you can do:

1. Follow @charityballnews on Twitter
2. Donate a tweet or retweet to help spread the word
3. Put a Charity Ball logo on your website, blog or facebook page (download a logo)
4. Get 25 of your friends to donate $1 and buy a new ball for a kid
5. Download a Charity Ball flyer from the footer and post at your school, work or soccer complex
6. Make a phone call to your local soccer shop and ask them if they would be willing to help promote the project or donate new balls
7. Collect soda cans or bottles and donate the return money
8. Get a Charity Ball T-shirt or patch and represent
9. Start a Charity Ball team at your club, school or business
10. Shoot a Charity Ball promo vid with your team or friends on your smart phone and load it to YouTube

Want to do something bigger like organize a tournament, become a corporate sponsor or donate massive amounts of money, drop me a note.

Thanks for caring.

2013 Charity Ball World Tour

The 2013 Charity Ball World Tour sets sail from the Port of San Diego this Wednesday, January 9.

The tour will take place over a 4-month period and 500 new, quality soccer balls will be hand delivered to kids in 10 different countries. Tom Bearer, a student at the University of Maine will be giving leadership to the the deliveries on the ground. Emily Wood and Jackie Faryniarz are also leveraging their semester at sea by representing Charity Ball in the effort. We anticipate some really cool stories and pictures coming our way over the next several weeks.Charity Ball World Tour 2013

Dates and countries are listed below. We will be publishing tour updates here at and via Twitter @charityballnews. Be sure stop by and catch the latest, the greatest and pictures of all the smiling faces.

A big thanks to: Soccer World, John Rivers and Co., Bounce Athletics, and the players at Canton Celtic (Canton, MI) for helping sponsor the tour. This is going to be amazing!

China – February 3
Vietnam – February 12
Singapore – February 20
Burma – February 25
India – March 6
Mauritius – March 18
South Africa – March 25
Ghana – April 8
Morocco – April 18

Charity Ball’s Top 12 of 2012

We’ve compiled a short list of our favorite stories and events that took place over 2012. Obviously they are subjective and up for debate. Here they are in ranking order. Drop us a tweet and let us know what you think @charityballnews

charity ball, david beckham

12. David Beckham Goes Out In Style

On December 1, “Becks” finished out his contract with the LA Galaxy by taking home the MLS Championship. 5 years later, The Beckham Experiment has proved to be a huge win for US Major League Soccer. We’ll see what happens next.

charity ball, tim howard

11. Tim Howard’s Keeper Goal

Four days into 2012, Tim Howard (while playing for Everton) scored his first professional goal. It was off a monster boot from the inside of his own 18-yard line. He joins the soccer history makers by being the 4th goalkeeper ever to score in the Barclay’s Premier League.

charity ball, spain soccer team

10. Spain’s World Hat Trick

After winning the 2008 Euro, the 2010 World Cup, The Spanish International Team earned themselves a world tourney hat trick by taking home the hardware at this year’s Euro 12. Nice job boys.

charity ball, bounce athletics

9. Bounce Athletics Gives 5% Of Profits To Charity Ball

Bounce Athletics, a custom soccer ball company located in Petoskey, Michigan decided to partner with Charity Ball by giving 5% of their total sales to help share the Beautiful Game. To date, several hundred Bounce Athletics soccer balls have been hand-delivered to kids in poverty-stricken communities around the world. Learn more

charity ball, clint dempsey

8. Dempsey’s Outstanding Season

After scoring 17 goals, the most any American has scored in one season in the Premier League, Deuce rounded out the 2012 season with a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur. Way to put the biscuits in the basket #2.

charity ball, lakeshore premier

7. Sponsors Charity Ball

To promote the Beautiful Game and support the work of Charity Ball, helped underwrite tournament kits for the U14 Lakeshore Premier Team in Grand Haven, Michigan. The Kits were designed to create awareness and raise funds at a state tournament last spring. has been a huge advocate for Charity Ball and has been sponsoring projects and assisting with soccer balls for the last two years. SoccerPro

charity ball, usa vs mexico

6. US Men Beat Mexico At The Azteca

The USMNT made history on August 15. It was first time the US beat Mexico at the Azteca Stadium. With the home field advantage and the energy of 105,000 screaming fans, the Azteca is considered to be one of the hardest places to beat Mexico. This was definitely one of the best moments of 2012.

charity ball, chelsea

5. Champions League Glory For Chelsea

Roberto Di Mateo was the acting interim coach after Andres Vilas Boas was axed. Many people called it a fluke. Fluke or not, it was one of the most entertaining CL finale matches ever. Drogba gave the Blues a lifeline after heading home a corner kick in the 90th minute. He also sealed the deal by scoring the final kick in the penalty shoot-out to hand Chelsea the 2012 CL trophy.

charity ball, messi

4. Lionel Messi Breaks Goal Scoring Record

Lionel Messi scored his 86th goal of the year on December 9. The Argentine broke Gerd Muller’s standing 40-year, single season scoring record. Definitely need to respect the Barcelona magic man.

3. “I Like Soccer Balls” Video

Bass Creative and the folks at produced a 5-minute video that revolves around the Charity Ball story. The video has been broadcasted in a variety of different places including halftime at the Real Salt Lake vs.Chivas MLS Game last spring.

charity ball

2. USA Women Take Gold At 2012 Summer Olympics

After an exciting semi-final match against Canada, the USWNT advanced to the olympic finals. They were met by Japan and battled it out for the championship. In the end, it was the ladies who took the gold and the prestigious center stage.

charity ball

1. Canton Celtic Soccer Club Raises $7,000 For Charity Ball

The Canton soccer club accomplished the impossible by raising over $7,000 in one week by collecting soda cans and pop bottles. A large portion of the soccer balls being hand-delivered on the Charity Ball 2013 World Tour (beginning January 9) are a result of the hard work and fundraising efforts of the Canton players. Charity Ball is proud to call this our number 1 of 2012. Canton Soccer Club

Why the Yellow Soccer Ball?

Have you ever wondered why the big soccer leagues like Barclays, La Liga, and Serie A, switch from using a white soccer ball to a yellow soccer ball mid season? Well I’ve done a little research and discovered that Nike introduced the yellow ball back in 2004/2005. Allegedly, the yellow colorway allows players on the pitch to see the ball better during cold, foggy, winter conditions. If you can see the ball better, you can respond quicker – which ultimately takes the game to a higher level of play.

Some people say it’s just a marketing ploy by Nike to sell more balls, so I decided to run my own test. I live in West Michigan where the weather is very similar to England this time of year. I went outside with my white and yellow soccer balls and held them agains the grey sky to see if one stood out more than the other. Sure enough, the yellow ball created more contrast and was easier to see. Check out the pictures below. I can definitely say that using a yellow ball in the winter months against grey conditions makes a lot of sense. Maybe we should start using them more in our youth leagues here in the States. -E

New Soccer League: Kenya

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!

Custom Soccer Balls: Bounce Athletics

I recently had the privilege to interview Zach Jonker and ask him a few questions about soccer balls. Zach and his buddy Mike Atchison run a custom soccer ball company in Petosky, Michigan called Bounce Athletics. What these guys do is really awesome.

Ethan: Tell us about Bounce Athletics.

Zach: Bounce Athletics is a Michigan based custom soccer ball and training vest supplier that is fully committed to giving back to the game we love. We offer camp/rec, training, and competition balls. All of our balls and vests can be fully customized using our beautiful designs with your organization’s logo. We also offer skill balls and stock training balls and futsal balls.

Ethan: There are different qualities of soccer balls. Talk to us about the different types.

Zach: When talking about ball quality the first thing you look at is the outer cover of the ball. The best hand-stitched training and match balls are made from different types of Polyurethane (PU). Recreational level hand stitched balls are made from PVC. PVC is more durable, but much less supple and responsive. Machine stitched balls have become a popular low cost alternative within the past few years. Most of these balls are made from a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). This material tends to be very sticky, especially in humid weather, which makes technical training difficult. Layers of polyester, cotton, or foam (or a combination thereof) are adhered to the back of the outer cover to provide cushion.
Inside this shell sits the bladder.


Ethan: We recently talked about the different kinds of soccer ball bladders…

Zach: Soccer balls feature either a butyl or latex bladder. Top level training and match balls all have a latex bladder as it is more elastic and responsive. This helps the ball explode off the foot. Latex is a rather porous material though. This is why you need to re-inflate top level balls once a week. Butyl bladders are not as elastic and a bit heavier, but they are much less porous. Good butyl bladders will hold air for most of the season which is very convenient for the coach and player. It really depends on your preference. If you are more performance oriented and don’t mind pumping up your training balls weekly we recommend latex. For younger travel players and recreational level players we recommend butyl bladders. Futsal balls have foam injected into a buytl bladder to provide a dead bounce effect.

Ethan: How does the quality of the ball influence a soccer game?

Zach: The quality of the ball plays a huge factor in any match. The best match balls include only the highest grade PU backed by polyester and micro foam with a latex bladder. They should explode off the foot so proper air pressure is also important. A poor quality or under inflated ball can really impact the game in a negative manner. Typically a poor quality ball takes away any technical advantages one team may have and favors a the lesser skilled team. The best balls in the world all meet FIFA’s most exacting standards. Visit for more details.

Big thanks to Zach for the time & insight. Bounce is partnered with Charity Ball and gives 5% of their total sales to help us get kids in poverty-stricken communities new soccer balls. For More information visit Bounce online.