Football, Futbol, Soccer, whatever you want to call it, is universal. For many, it is a fun activity, for some it is an escape from temporary problems, for others it’s one of very few opportunities to leave behind a world of poverty and violence. Former RSL man Abdoulie Mansally is one of hundreds of footballers around the world who are a testament to that. Recently, Mansally’s Foundation has teamed up with EDA soccer and someone’s Eagle Scout Project (Sorry we have no idea who you are but it’s really awesome that you’re doing this) to increase accessibility of the sport in his home country of Gambia.
Between August 15th and 19th drop off jerseys, cleats, bags, balls and other lightly used soccer equipment at Dicks Sporting Goods Stores in Layton, Midvale, American Fork and Orem. By doing so you can even get a special discount upon checkout, but more importantly you’re contributing to an important cause. You can also drop equipment off at the Adidas Cup hosted by the Utah Soccer Alliance in West Jordan.
While Gambia may not be the most impoverished nation in the world in terms of development and infrastructure, the CIA Factbook still indicates several struggles. In Gambia 25% of children under the age of 14 are child laborers, 16% of children under the age of five are underweight, just under 60% of the population has access to healthy sanitation, and 1 in 2 adults can read and write.
As aforementioned, soccer is a mechanism for young children to leave poverty stricken environments and create a new world for themselves, there families, and if they make it far enough the communities they were born and raised in. (Check the bottom of the article for some really great reads) The problem is that access to the beautiful game is extremely limited.
The Mansally Foundation website writes that;
In Mansally’s village, while he was growing up, there was one pair of soccer cleats. All the children in the village, including Abdoulie, used this one pair of cleats. Why only one pair of cleats? For the cost of a pair of cleats, Mansally’s family could buy one bag of rice to feed seven people, one bag of rice, not for one day or one week, but for one month to feed seven people. One bag of rice for perhaps, one meal a day, sometimes less, fed everyone.”
Please join us at the Soapbox as we contribute to this amazing cause.
Articles on the power of soccer worldwide
- The role of soccer in assisting Syrian refugees
- The role of soccer as an escape for Rohingya populations suffering atrocities at the hands of the government of Myanmar.
- The role of soccer as an escape for the 1 million South Sudanese seeking refuge in Uganda.
- Football as a mechanism to unite communities torn apart by ethnic violence in South Sudan.
“Soccer, or football, will not in any way stop the refugee crisis. It will not help hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees return home. And it will not stop the savagery of the Syrian civil war. But it can, at least, provide some respite to these children. And it can be used as a tool to teach other values too, as in the many AFDP programs. That, in fact, is the point of bringing football to the life of the refugee camps. And today, right now, there is no soccer match in the world as important as those being played on the pitches of northern Jordan and on the gravel fields of Zaatari.”