Compton Kids in South Africa?
By Mike Herman, President & Founder Compton United Soccer Club
Kids from Compton don’t usually get around much. Some haven’t been two hours away to the mountains. Some haven’t even been to the beach 20 minutes away.
So how is it possible that 10 Compton kids are planning to go to the other side of the globe to Johannesburg, South Africa?
In one word… soccer (or futbol, football, etc.).
Soccer is undeniably, the most universal and popular sport in the world. It is played everywhere. From the dirt fields of South America to the plains of Kenya, to the slums of Liverpool where the game was founded, anyone can be a “footballer”. The game does not discriminate by age, size, race, creed, color or socioeconomic status.
Sports in general, and soccer specifically, can be a powerful tool to bring communities together – communities like Compton and Mamelodi, a poor suburb outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Our Compton United kids are meeting up with African kids in Mamelodi to play in the Hope Cup Tournament. Bridge to Cross (the organization that has brought the model of Boys and Girls Clubs to South Africa) hosts this annual tournament. The Compton United Boy’s Under 15 team will participate with 16 other international youth teams in a week- long celebration of youth and hope.
Jose Hernandez, the Captain of the Compton United U15 team is excited about the trip. He says,
“I am excited because we will show other kids that not only professionals can travel around the world but we can as well. The best thing about going to South Africa is that we all get to have a new experience in soccer, and we get to visit a new place that none of us have been, and learn about a different culture”.
The main mission of Compton United and Bridge to Cross goes far more just soccer games. Soccer is a tremendous tool for youth and leadership development; this lies at the heart of the two organizations. Hope Cup players will also participate in a large community service project, as they help repair and build a school in Mamelodi. They will also visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, and have discussions on race in their cultures.
Compton and Mamelodi are quite different but also very similar. They both have kids full of potential but limited on resources. They both have teens and young adults that have lost most, if not all, the hope they had as children. They are also both communities devastated by poverty, hunger, homelessness, sickness, crime and despair.
The Hope Cup players will see firsthand how hope can transform people and ultimately transform communities.
The players and staff are tremendously excited about this trip. It will be life changing for everyone.
However, funding has been slow and everyone is working hard to bring in investors for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For more information on the trip, please visit, http://tr.im/cuscwc2010b
For more information on the fund raising, please visit, http://tr.im/cuscwc2010
Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. -Christopher Reeve
About the Author:
Mike Herman is the President and Founder of the Compton United Soccer Club in Compton, CA.
The Compton United Mission Statement:
Our Mission: Through the sport of soccer and the resources of US Soccer, develop a new generation of leaders who excel in all aspects of life: mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, and emotionally, to ultimately help develop our community into a model of social, economic and spiritual transformation.