SSVCF wants to help Earthquakes fans build and burnish the club’s brand abroad by doing charitable work through soccer in other countries. Soccer is a global sport and we want to help grow the Earthquakes’ global brand. Our goal is that Earthquakes fans around the world will be known for their superior sportsmanship and, as well, their goodwill and unparalleled generosity.
SSVCF was recently contacted by Kelsey Deanne. She and her production partner, Anne Cates, are filming a documentary called “Out of the Ashes” on the education system in Post-Kony Northern Uganda. One of the main activities and outlets for the students there is soccer. Many of them are hopeful to win scholarships to secondary school through soccer since education is not paid for by the government.
SSVCF approached Jed Mettee of the San Jose Earthquakes about an SSVCF collaboration with the Earthquakes Community Fund to support the Uganda project started by Kelsey Deanne and Anne Cates. The Quakes had donated some past shirts to SSVCF, who brought the gear to Avaya; the EQCF sent it to Anne in Texas, who got it to Uganda. Jenny added some posters, team photos and soccer balls (including some autographed).
In other recent partnerships to benefit youth in Uganda, we gave old Earthquakes gear to Stop Hunger Now to ship along with their food packages prepared at an event held at Cisco.
SSV’s board previously worked collaboratively with the Blue Star Moms, mothers of Iraqi servicemen who wrote home saying that we could make a contribution to the war effort by providing soccer balls for Iraqi kids. SSV’s board quickly cobbled together $1,000 and chipped in. With the support of our fellow Earthquakes fans, SSVCF hopes to build on that example by providing soccer balls and equipment and money for fields to youngsters in countries all over the planet.
Between the scourge of AIDS, poverty, and fighting the legacy of the Bantu Education system that was implemented under Apartheid, the challenges of everyday life in South Africa are formidable. Still, the interest in soccer is there. Megan Clapp, a Peace Corps volunteer from Saratoga, California, lives in the rural village of Setagole, where she speaks Setswana and works at a couple of local schools. Last term, armed with one soccer ball from her college days, she decided to start a girls’ soccer team in an area where the idea of females playing soccer seemed to the local men to be… well, pretty silly.
These kids have never played organized soccer, but what they lack in skill, they make up for in enthusiasm and energy.
“I have never seen little girls go into tackles like these ones. It’s really exciting. At the first practice, we had a pretty large audience of students from the school. There were over a hundred kids out there watching the practice–cheering them on from the sidelines,” Megan says. “They have a lot of potential, and it is obvious that they want to be there and work hard. I was late to practice this week and the girls were already out there warming up.”
This term Megan has expanded her efforts to more schools, using some balls with San Jose Earthquakes logos on them, provided by SSVCF. Her new teams will be outfitted in Almaden Valley Youth Soccer League uniforms, donated to SSVCF for the Setagole students.
“I just don’t have the right words to express our gratitude as a community….In today’s world, when other people are very much focused on how to survive the global economic slowdown, you are still thinking of helping the poor people.”
— Jacques Bwira, Director, Ndejje (Uganda) Youth Centre
SSVCF has partnered with Soccer Without Borders and the Rotary Club of San Jose to build the Ndejje Youth Center near Kampala, Uganda. The Ndejje Youth Center and its staff provides ongoing soccer programming to 105 youth who are refugees displaced from war-torn African countries, particularly the Congo.
“The space serves as a soccer equipment resource center in which children and schools from the community can have access to balls, uniforms and other soccer materials and a community meeting space,” says Soccer Without Borders Executive Director Ben Gucciardi, whose group has volunteers on the ground in Ndejje. The center also provides training for young men and women to become top level soccer coaches.
But soccer is only a starting point. The youth center also provides free HIV/AIDS testing, and life skills and vocational training. The center has purchased several computers and intends to provide computer training as well.
SSVCF directly contributed half the funds to build the youth center facility and indirectly secured the contribution of the Rotary Club of San Jose for another significant chunk of the funding. SSVCF has also contributed soccer kits, as well as excess t-shirts from its 2008 Light the Night Leukemia Walk.
“This will have an invaluable impact on the community,” says Jacques Bwira, the facility’s director. “The centre will serve as a coordinating office for soccer training and friendly tournaments in the community, a store room for soccer gear to be used by the community, a community hall for seminars and a place of peace.”
In 2009, SSVCF partnered with the immersion program at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose to donate shirts to the community of Segundo Montes in El Salvador. The immersion program takes youth from the developed world into the daily reality of those who live in the developing world, whose day-to-day existence is characterized by a lack of the basic necessities to live.
Youth group leaders in Segundo Montes work with the children of the community to keep them focused on their schoolwork, their religious training and their families. Because it is a very poor community, the children are susceptible to gang and drug activity. However, the people of Segundo Montes welcome Bellarmine’s visit each year, including an annual soccer match between the gringos and the home team.
When Ned Zuparko of SSVCF mentioned the Earthquakes had some shirts to donate, Larry Lauro, the immersion program coordinator, felt that the Segundo Montes community would be the best place for them.
In 2008, SSVCF sent cleats, soccer balls, books, and kits donated by Brian Holmes to a soccer team in Ghana, in collaboration with a local Peace Corps volunteer.