WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – July 7, 2010 – The Des Moines Menace is joining forces with Play It Forward on Saturday, helping the organization “provide new and used soccer equipment to kids in need, locally, nationally and internationally.”
Fans can get into the Menace game for only $5 by donating a soccer ball or pair of shoes to Play It Forward. Saturday’s game against the St. Paul Twin Stars is at 7:30 p.m. at Valley Stadium.
Play it Forward founder Jonah Waldron, a student at Adel-De Soto-Minburn High School, started the organization after traveling to Brazil last summer. He was visiting a former coach from the Olympic Development Program and stayed in the country for 16 days.
“We played friendly (matches) against the local teams,” Waldron said. “And one team had one ball to share for the whole team, while we each had a ball. They had torn jerseys and ours were brand new.”
After this trip, Waldron was determined to make a difference. He started Play It Forward in May and the donations continue to grow.
“I was surprised to find that so many kids, even in an area (Brazil) where soccer is the key sport, did not own a ball and did not own soccer cleats,” he wrote in a letter explaining the organization’s goal.
The group works closely with the Iowa Soccer Association, whose international missions allow Play It Forward to distribute equipment to children in need all over the world. The main international areas the program affects are South America and Africa.
Play It Forward will be at Valley Stadium on Saturday to collect donations. The group primarily accepts soccer balls and cleats, but welcomes any type of donation, such as shin guards. Right now Waldron has about 70 balls and pairs of cleats, and is working towards a much larger goal.
“A thousand balls and cleats is the goal,” Waldron said.
UP NEXT: The Menace has only three regular-season games remaining, including this Saturday against St. Paul. The team has two more PDL matches left, hosting Kansas City on July 17 and St. Louis on July 24. All three games are at Valley Stadium and start at 7:30 p.m.