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Friday, May 24, 2013

Michigan Teen & Borussia Dortmund's Neven Subotic Team Up To Bring Soccer, Clean Water to Children in Africa

 Then ten-year-old soccer player Ethan King didn't think twice about giving his soccer ball to the children of an African village where he and his father were rehabilitating water wells in 2009. Four years later, through the work of Charity Ball, the non-profit organization sparked by Ethan's passion, over 2,500 new soccer balls have been hand delivered to children in poverty-stricken communities in more than 20 countries across the globe. 2013 marks a banner year for Charity Ball, as professional soccer player Neven Subotic, from Borussia Dortmund, partners with the organization to bring a soccer training clinic and the PLAY [well] CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT to the province of Cabo del Gado in Mozambique. The tournament is also enlisting the help of Vox United, to help coordinate the project and install two clean water wells in the area.


To Ethan, the formation of Charity Ball was simply a matter of doing the right thing. During his first visit to the country of Mozambique in Africa, he watched children of the village - his peers - play with ad hoc soccer balls made from plastic bags and twine. Their joy and disbelief at receiving the soccer ball Ethan had brought from home made him realize that his passion for soccer was a connection he shared with communities of children around the world, and that the simple act of giving a soccer ball could make a lasting, positive impact in underprivileged communities.


The PLAY [well] CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT is already underway; 16 youth teams, comprising 15-20 players, across the Northern rural province of Cabo del Gado are participating.

A PLAY [well] SOCCER SKILLS CLINIC will take place June 13th and 14th in the coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia, in time for semi-finals and the final round on June 15th and 16th.

500 new Adidas soccer balls will be personally handed out to kids by Neven Subotic, Ethan and other Charity Ball volunteers during the event. Additionally, each tournament participant will receive a new soccer jersey.

Said Subotic, "I cannot wait for the tournament to get going and experience it live. A big thanks to Ethan from Charity Ball and Vox United for organizing this wonderful occasion. The success of it all will be measured by the children's smiles in Mozambique, and I am sure there will be more than plenty of them we go and visit in June."


A key underlying mission of the tournament, in addition to sharing the beautiful game of soccer, is to provide access to clean drinking water and to communicate the vital messages of practical hygiene. In Africa, the leading cause of death in children under 5 is diarrhea, a water-related illness. According to the CDC, hand washing can reduce diarrhea and disease-related deaths by 50%.

Alongside the tournament, Charity Ball and the Neven Subotic Foundation are underwriting the installation of two new clean water wells in the area. Messages of proper hygiene and "playing well" will be shared with the community, with the goal of reducing water-related illness and mortality, particularly among children.


The PLAY [well] CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT is thus far sponsored by Charity Ball, the Neven Subotic Foundation, FB Barcelona Camps, Bumpy Pitch, iedesigns and Heart Soccer Academy. Additional sponsorships and corporate donations are still needed for the tournament. One clean water well has received full funding, but the second is still seeking donations.

Charity Ball is actively seeking businesses, soccer clubs, individuals and corporate sponsors to contribute to this humanitarian endeavor, to fund both the soccer tournament and the installation of clean water wells.

Those interested in contributing to the tournament can give online here under "Make a General Donation"; donations can be made to the clean water well here. Corporate sponsors should contact teamcharityball@charityball.org. Follow the tournament on Twitter @charityballnews. Visit charityball.org or voxunited.org for more information. For an inspiring backstory on Charity Ball, watch here.