When it comes to giving back to their community, the San Jose Earthquakes went back to basics.
And for a soccer club, nothing is more basic than the ball.
The Quakes teamed with Berkeley-based One World Play Project to donate more than 400 of their nearly-indestructible soccer balls. Making the donation even more special, though, is the way the beneficiaries were chosen.
Marissa Silver, Director of Community Relations, gave a ball to every single member of the Quakes organization, from CEO to youth players, and asked them to choose who would get their ball.
"I thought that it'd be really special to see just who they choose and why and be able to follow where the soccer balls ended up but how they came to choose that beneficiary," Silver said.
Members of the Quakes organization sent balls as far away as Mozambique and South Africa while others landed much closer to home. Every single teacher at San Francisco's Martin Elementary School got a ball.
The LifeMoves shelter in San Jose was the recipient of a ball thanks to Earthquakes Academy youth players Manolo Joaquin and Justin Collins.
“Now that they can have fun with this, it gives them the opportunity to be a kid,” Collins said. “Just have fun,” Joaquin added.
One World Play, founded in 2010, produces soccer balls constructed from closed-cell foam that are designed to be “unpoppable.” Originally envisioned as a ball for children in third world and war-torn countries where regular soccer balls didn’t last long and were difficult and costly to replace, the One World Futbol soon found a market in the United States as well. Schools and community centers found the durable, long-lasting balls a great fit.
Silver is not surprised that her team members’ donations have spanned the globe, as well.
“I am learning what one soccer ball can do,” Silver said.