Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vote for GrassRoot Soccer in the American Express Members Project

GrassRootSoccer is my favorite charity and one that I've watched grow, first over tea with Bette Clark during my time with the soccer team at ND and then from afar, as my life has moved out of Indiana.

Many of you know how much I love Bobby Clark, coach of the men's soccer team at ND. Prior to coaching in the US, Bobby took his family to Zimbabwe, where he coached a professional team. Those years have left a lasting effect on his family and some of his future soccer players, who've worked in the country upon graduating.

Bobby first came to the States to coach at Dartmouth, where his son Tommy also played, before he beginning med school. During his intern year in pediatric residency, Tommy developed the concept of HIV education in Africa through the advocacy of professional soccer players. He formalized the concept and traveled with a few members of his board in the fall of 2002, before kicking off the program the following January.

You may recognize one of the co-founders, Ethan Zohn, as a past Survivor winner. He put his winnings into this program and has brought a celebrity face to the foundation, after playing and coaching professionally in Zimbabwe.

I've loved what they've done in bringing AIDS education to Africa through the teachings of professional soccer players, who are the kids's sports idols. I'll admit that working in sports sometimes turns into too much of a focus on player salaries and sponsorship dollars, so I love to see such a great community outreach program on such a vital issue.

Check out GrassRoot Soccer and vote through the member project.

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