As some of you may recall, I posted a message earlier this year about a friend of mine who’s a journalist for KOA Denver. In March, he spent two weeks over in Iraq embedded with our troops as a guest of the US Pentagon. He met and traveled with several soldiers during this time and learned very quickly how important a soccer ball could be to both our troops and the children of Iraq.
I contacted my friend when he returned home, and after several conversations "Little Feet, Big Goals!" was started. You can view the site at www.littlefeet.com. With the help of the US Soccer Foundation, Major League Soccer, particularly the FC Dallas Foundation, Operation Iraqi Children, Mikasa, and the Sports Authority, we started collecting soccer balls and sending them to our troops in Iraq, who then hand them out to the children of the country. In less than a month, over 5,000 balls have already made it over to Iraq and another 3,000 are currently en route.
Very cool. A suggestion to all you soccer bloggers out there. Find some space on your sidebar and throw a link to Little Feet up to help spread the word.
Our soldiers in Iraq have sent in a number of emails thanking Little Feet for their efforts:
Hello again this is Spc. Vicente Diaz from 615th MP CO./ Baghdad, Iraq. The purpose for my email today is to let you know that on the 25th of May 2006 we received a total of 72 brand new soccer balls from a company named Mikasa Sports Authority out of Irvine, California. Along with the soccer balls we also received 7 hand pumps which came in handy when inflating all the soccer balls. Ha! On behalf of the 2nd Platoon "Wolfpack" and the 615th MP CO. "Bloodhounds" we wish to express our deepest appreciation in helping us change some of the frowns with smiles on the Iraqi children’s faces. Even though we would like to do more it is not possible sometimes but nevertheless it is nice to see the kids playing with the soccer balls and gesturing a big thumps up as we drive by. We plan on having all of the soccer balls handed out by the end of the week. We will keep you posted on the reaction this all brings about again I wish to THANK YOU for all your efforts in helping us connect in a positive way.
Read the whole post over at USSoccerblog for a number of other emails from soldiers about how well received this program is. Like Trevor said – this isn’t about politics – it’s about helping kids have fun!