Playing for Hope


Read the full story by Susan Green, published by the Geisel School of Medicine.

A soccer tournament happening this week in Brazil has the potential to change the lives of its participants, and it’s not the World Cup. As that more famous tournament winds down, Football for Hope will give teenagers from 27 countries a chance to learn more about effecting positive change in communities and, of course, to play some soccer.

The Grassroot Soccer delegation in Brazil includes three boys and three girls representing the organization’s affiliates in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as several staff members. (Photo courtesy of Grassroot Soccer)

Thirty-two nongovernmental organizations were invited by FIFA to take part in the Football for Hope festivities and be part of the World Cup experience, including Grassroot Soccer, which was founded by Tommy Clark ’92, MED ’01. For more than 10 years, Grassroot Soccer has been integrating the universal appeal of soccer with evidence-based HIV prevention and life-skills programs to give young Africans the knowledge and support they need to live healthy, HIV-free lives.

“Grassroot Soccer is honored to have been chosen—the FIFA Football for Hope Festival is a terrific opportunity for our young leaders,” says Clark. “I believe it will help inspire all of our participants.”

Chosen for their leadership potential, three boys and three girls representing Grassroot Soccer affiliates in South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe traveled to Brazil for the event. The delegation also includes four young Grassroot Soccer staff members who are taking part in the festival’s leadership workshops.

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