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A Bend man's goal: Helping kids in Africa

Published On: Jun 19 2013 11:53:17 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Brittany Weiner talks with a Bend man who will travel to Africa - with some very special soccer balls.

BEND, Ore. -

Your typical gym class games such as soccer, basketball and dodgeball are things we in America take for granted. But in Third World countries, equipment as simple as a ball is hard to come by. 

A global foundation known as ‘One World Futbol Project’ is working to change that.

Its product is a special kind of ball, called the ‘One World Futbol.’ Its goal is to bring the joy of soccer to disadvantaged communities around the world. 

“It's devastating to think of all the things we get as kids growing up here in the U.S.,” said Bend resident Matt Mohorovich. “Looking abroad and to these other nations, to where they have nothing."

Mohorovich feels the same way the ‘One World Futbol's’ creator felt after seeing kids in Darfur, Africa playing soccer with trash in the streets.

In two weeks, Mohorovich leaves with a group of educators from San Francisco to give away six ‘One World Futbols’ to kids in Kenya and Tanzania. He bought them for more than $40 apiece, with his own money and the generosity of friends.

“You know, I'm really looking forward to handing the balls over to them,or giving them to the kids and just watching them play, and that's what it's all about,” said Mohorovich.

When asked if he would play soccer with them, he answered, “Oh yeah.”

Unlike a regular soccer ball, the ‘One World Futbol’ has a long lifespan. You can literally step on the ball, deflate it and then pick it up -- and it re-inflates itself.

“They're built to be played in the dirt -- you know, to be kicked up against barbed wire fences,” said Mohorovich.

The project is the same organization Richard Swanson was raising money and awareness for. The Seattle man was killed after being hit by a truck on highway 101 in Lincoln City. He was about two weeks into his 10,000-mile trip, dribbling a ‘One World Futbol’ from Seattle to Brazil.  A suspect in the crash was arrested this week.

“It's really hard to see something like that, where someone is so passionate, and you know he was doing a great thing, and unfortunately it didn't end that greatly for him,” said Mohorovich.

Although Mohorovich is heading to Africa to give, he hopes to bring back something as well.

“If nothing else, just a few great pictures and some great smiles from kids," he said. "Because that's really what it's all about is putting smiles on their faces, and making sure that they're having fun, being active in the outdoors and staying healthy.”

He hopes each ball gets passed down through the generations, and that it will affect hundreds of kids.

You too can help give back at oneworldfutbol.com. For every ‘One World Futbol’ you buy, the foundation gives a second ball to a community in need. You also have the option to donate both, if you choose. 

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