Give a Soccer Ball: Soccer in Ghana

This article- depressing and inspiring at once- by Wright Thompson at ESPN was also an Outside the Lines special a few months back.  Its another must read; it really explains the dire living situations in Ghana, and the desparation kids and parents have when a rare opportunity to use soccer as a "way out."

My take is that there is almost no way an American-raised kid can relate to the culture described in this story. About the most relatable is the British guy, Andy Farrant, who is there to represent The Right To Dream Academy. Its his job to pick the lucky few kids who will have an opportunity to go the academy, and it makes him genuinely uncomfortable as coaches and parents try desparately to get their kids noticed.

But the image that sticks with me is the eight year-old, Oscar, who was perpetually "making a ball out of something, literally chewing up discarded plastic bags, packing them together until the ball was lPhoto: Candace Feitarge enough to kick."   

Often when I've bought a soccer ball or given a soccer ball or dribbled a soccer ball, I've thought about how its the best toy in the world.  You literally need nothing else to have fun with it; you can play with it alone or with 21 other kids.

Here's to Passback, the Right To Dream Academy, and anyone else who's dream it is to give more soccer balls to more kids, and to have soccer be part of a path to a better life. 

If you can't give the gift of a scholarship to the Right To Dream Academy (which they will gladly accept), give someone the gift of a soccer ball.  


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