With the holiday season right around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to teach your youth soccer player about what life is like around the world. Explain to your child that all not kids are lucky enough to play their favorite sport — in fact, they might not even have a ball or a safe place to do so. But thanks to amazing, soccer-based nonprofits like the ones below, you and your family can use your love of the game to brighten someone else’s holidays.
Hope for Autism United for Soccer Foundation Inc
This organization works with hundreds of kids who have autism, and they learn soccer skills in a supportive environment while developing a lifelong love of exercise. Kids who go through this program benefit in unlimited ways: they enhance their fine motor skills, communication skills, and listening skills, build their self-confidence, practice behavior management, and improve their physical fitness.
Grassroot Soccer operates worldwide. They provide kids with a positive culture, soccer-based health curriculum, and caring mentors. Their program aims to challenge negative gender norms and decrease gender-based violence, and they educate kids on physical fitness, financial literacy, employability, and mental health. By helping youth, Grassroot Soccer impacts entire communities. They provide access to increased health knowledge and high-quality health services and teach adherence to medical treatment, therapy, and healthy behaviors.
This non-profit, FIFA-endorsed organization provides new, quality soccer balls to children in poverty-stricken communities around the world. When they can’t afford a soccer ball, kids are often left to their own devices and create substitutes from trash and string — and Charity Ball believes they deserve better. When you donate to The More Beautiful Fund on their website, you fund “soccer+” projects, such as financing sustainable drinking water, which keeps kids healthy and able to enjoy the sport.
Soccer 4 Hope
Since 1995, Soccer 4 Hope has worked with 150 schools, children’s shelters, and community groups in Zimbabwe and South Africa. They give girls in disadvantaged communities a positive and supportive environment to develop life skills and grow into confident, healthy, contributing members of society. Primary-school-age girls are coached by role models from communities like their own. 10,000 children are enrolled in these programs every year, and they often grow up to become coaches themselves.
Soccer Street USA
Now working in 14 cities throughout the country, Soccer Street aims to fight poverty by providing an alternative to the pay-to-play model. They target the third of youth who live below the poverty line and have graduation rates between 55% and 65%, and create safe spaces to play that the entire community can enjoy.
Soccer Without Borders
Soccer Without Borders embraces a whole-person approach to youth development, and they have won a variety of awards for their holistic program model, which addresses critical issues in underserved communities worldwide. They welcome refugees, prioritize consistent mentoring relationships, and focus on breaking down barriers so girls of all cultural backgrounds can play. In addition to building soccer skills, they help kids with their language development, academic advancement, and civic engagement.
Talk to your youth soccer player about how these organizations can inspire you to transform your own community! This Thanksgiving, use your love of soccer to make a difference. For more ways on how you can make a difference in the soccer community, visit our blog.