The goal of Love.Fútbol

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North American NGO wants to build 30 soccer fields for under privileged children in Brazil leading up to the World Cup, in 2014.

By Danielle Marinho

In the month of August the Brazilian restaurant Cajú, held the Just For Kicks Toronto event to raise money for a North American organization called Love.Fútbol. The director and one of the founders, Drew Chafetz, came over from Washington, DC, especially for this event. Just for Kicks Toronto is a volunteer initiative by Kenyan organizer Zaynah Khanbhai, with collaboration from Love.Fútbol ambassadors Mario Cassini and Tomas Bilbao focused on inspiring a new generation of young philanthropists and involving them in supporting projects of this NGO. The event, whose goal was to raise funds to build soccer fields in Recife, also had the Consul General for Brazil in Toronto in attendance, Ambassador Afonso Cardoso.

Founded in 2006 with its head office in Washington, DC, in the USA, Love.Fútbol’s objective is to build soccer fields in many low income communities around the world. The organization offers children a safe place to play sports and strengthen the communities by creating platforms of opportunity. Since 2006, Love.Fútbol has completed nine projects which serve over 6,000 youths in Guatemala, with over 87,000 hours of community work for building these soccer fields. The organization is expanding its work into Brazil.

The event Just For Kicks Toronto raised over CAD$3,000 dollars (around 6,000 reais) to benefit the Campo da Esperança and build a new soccer field in the community of Vila Esperança, in Recife, Brazil, for over 3,000 youths in the region. The goal is to raise US$ 20,000 to pay for the materials necessary for construction. This project will be the first of at least 14 soccer fields, with 30 in total to be built in Brazil before the Soccer World Cup, in 2014.

“Around the world many children play soccer in hazardous areas, in garbage dumps and busy streets, and ignore the indignity of their circumstances, for the love of the sport. Youths need a simple place to play soccer. The NGO’s idea is to help not only the children do what they love, but to have a passion, and have something positive in their lives, seeking and also moving the community to receive this” describes the founder Drew Chafetz. For the work in Brazil, Drew hopes to get major grants from FIFA and Coca Cola, who have already shown interest in a partnership.

According to the Ambassador Afonso Cardoso, simple ideas are the most effective; “What happens in Brazil and in any other place where cities grow, is that spaces for children to play get smaller and smaller. What we need to do today is rediscover the spaces and offer opportunities for these children to play soccer and grow up with more hope in their lives.” Whoever would like to participate and donate to Love.Fútbol and their projects can go to the site lovefutbol.org and become an ambassador for the cause.