“Spirit of Soccer” Iraq


The main aim of the project is to educate children of the dangers of land mines and other explosive elements of war through the power of football and sporting education.The spirit of Soccer project has a powerful and important itinerary to spread throughout the youth of Iraq including Mine Risk education,activities that get across the important message in a fun way and to raise the awareness by changing the behavior of children towards explosive objects whether they be mines or bombs.

“There aren’t many chances to play sport for women in Iraq” says Serab. “Spirit of Soccer gave me the opportunity to return to the sport I love at the same time as performing a humanitarian role, helping to protect children against mines and other weapons by educating them”. (Serab -football coach for spirit of soccer)

The violence in both Syria and Iraq have had catastrophic consequences for humanitarian reasons in the region.There has been a huge amount of displacement for people in the region leaving some 5.2 million people in urgent need of assistance in Iraq. Since
December 2014 more than 2.2 million Iraqis have been internally SOS-Logo-1displaced, and half of them are children under the age of 18, forced to live in camps without any formal education or social structures.

There are many aims and objectives of the project which can be a complex process due to the war torn nature of the regions so to reach those objectives given the dangers that the coaches are working in and the environment.There are core objectives which are :-

  • Teach 150 Iraqi and Syrian football coaches (30% women) the fundamentals of trauma and mine safety:a. KEEP AWAY from dangerous areas
    b. DON’T TOUCH mines or explosive remnants of war
    c. REPORT mines or explosive remnants of war to someone in authority
    d. COMMUNICATE the above to friends and family
  • Deliver mine risk education through football to 25,000 Iraqi and Syrian children
  • Recruit 5,000 high-risk, fighting age men into a ‘anti-extremism football league’
  • Deliver mine risk education messages indirectly to 75,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees and internally displaced people
  • Increase access to football in under-served communities

(objectives taken from http://uefafoundation.org/action/spirit-of-soccer-2/ )

These crucial elements and objectives are done through football activity and participation.Sport is a special vehicle and a very clever way to spread a message to as many children in the fastest possible time as this links with the Brain training theory that activities should be put across in the manner of the child’s capabilities to take in that information so through fun physical activities they are more likely to get a higher participation equaling a larger target base.

This fantastic project of “Spirit of Soccer” works all over the world and are always looking to expand to reach more war torn areas as the work will never be over. So far there are 110,000,000 mines in the world and it has been predicted that it would take 1000 years to clear them at a cost of $30 billion and in which 50% of the total victims of mines die within the first hours without being able to get medical help.

Since 2009 we have delivered programs in Baghdad, Basra and Kirkuk to over 80,000 children, often under heavy shelling. In keeping with our philosophy of local ownership we have trained 18 local Iraqi coaches as MRE instructors, including three women, from across the Arab, Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and Christian communities.

(Spirit of Soccer statment – http://spiritofsoccer.org/our-impact/)

If you would like to donate or see more information on this fantastic project then please follow the link below.



Cambuur fans give their team an incredible send off at training !



Cambuur were due to play arch nemesis Heerenveen so the fans gave them an amazing send off with this pyro show,unfortunately their antics got a steward seriously injured by a firework.

“Spirit of Soccer” Cambodia Project


The Spirit of Soccer project was founded in 1996 and is still going strong to this day.The organisation has had immense success for 2 decades in which they have touched the hearts of tens of thousands of children and families in Cambodia.


Landmine Clearance

The Civil war in Cambodia lasted nearly three decades where Landmines were placed in populated areas which posed a huge risk to the local populace to maximize human damage.Over 40,000 Cambodians are missing a body part in which 40% are young victims.It remains one of the worlds most heavily mined areas.The Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) have stated that it would take 100 years to clear the region.

There may be as many as four-to-six million mines and unexploded ordinances in Cambodia and, according to estimates, at the present rate it would take 100 years to clear them all.

yd3l_ayzThe Philosophy of the project is to educate children about the dangers of land mines and to raise the awareness of the dangerous consequences of war especially surrounding the ERW (Explosive Remnants of War) in post conflict regions. The program expanded to Cambodia after successful projects in Bosnia & Herzegovina where for ten years they worked to reach the same goals.

The success is easy to quantify in the amount of participants and children they have reached as in 2006 alone they reached 22,000 children and over 80,000 altogether which educated them on the risks and prevention methods of Land Mines which is a huge number to reach for a project of this type.One of the many impressive elements to this story is that they use football education to spread the message which allows for other benefits such as keeping the children off the streets, reducing crime and enhancing the prevention of drug abuse.

The group has also impacted strongly in funding in the region having donated thousands of footballs and equipment whilst also delivering thousands of sessions ,advice and coaching methodology per year to the youth of Cambodia.


Dream Big …. Football Changing Lives for Hope

Through Football for Hope’s support, Spirit of Soccer has been able to expand its activities in Cambodia to other affected regions of the country and to reach over 20.000 children per year on the dangers posed by land mines – FIFA


Map showing ERW contamination in Cambodia



Arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen now has his own movie about his amazing life and how he became the greatest in the world…. enjoy

Rise as One- Training Blind Football The Incredible Story


This incredible story from Rio shows the amazing and endless strength of those with handicaps who are brought together and are able to use football to enhance their lives as most never thought they would ever be able to play sport again but with the brilliance and fantastic people involved in blind training more and more people are playing and having the confidence to get involved with blind football.Blind football is a very difficult concept to learn and a lot of people never return after trying the first time if they don’t feel comfortable or if they don’t see a level of success that is acceptable to the participant but for those who stay those who have the courage to try again and again it can bring so much joy and keeps people involved in sporting activity and another example of the worlds greatest sport and how it changes lives all over the world.

Football Rise As One,The David Vs Goliath China Story


This is a great story of just how far the football tidal wave hits in such remote areas around the world and in this story that tidal wave hits China. Football in China is the fastest growing sport and is getting more acclaimed with every year after decades of poor performance and lack of funding resulting in a decline and a sub standard culture of football in the country.This story shows how a team from Beijing travelled to play a team from a remote village in an extremely poor region in which the poverty is so bad that villagers explain that they used to sacrifice animals and blow up their bladders in order to play.The story shows how football is not just a game it is a tool and a force for good to improve relations and create communication links to some of the worlds most remote regions.

The game ended 13-7 to Beijing but the score wasn’t important, the important element is the legacy and footprints left behind to support and promote football for all and take away barriers to participation.Since the game there has been a major development for the people of Yuhu village as Budweiser have funded a full sized astro turfed pitch to be put in the village and you shall see in the video why that is such an important step for these rural communities.



Touching Story- A Teenage Goalkeeper Rising Above Bullies

Goalkeeper Dan Cui has a story that rises above bullies.A Goalkeeper playing above his age group was made a scapegoat for a schools horrendous form and what happened next with a little help from his friends and Facebook he got his confidence back and became a star and had his moment of glory by helping the school finally secure victory with a sensational last minute save.

Cui, in actuality, isn’t a bad goalie, but he was playing above his age and his confidence had taken a bit of a beating from class mates calling him names such as the “Worst Goalie Ever.” Some of Cui’s teammates, however, came to his defence, using Facebook to fight the cyberbullying. They found a good picture of Cui making a save and posted it as their Facebook profile picture. More and more people from Cui’s school joined in and soon more than 100 students had liked, commented, or changed their pics to Cui’s save.