Soccer, sunshine and sustainability: Kicking it for a cause

soccer players posing and smiling for a photo on a field

Old rice bags, discarded clothes, tree bark and an incredible imagination are all some children in Africa have to make their own soccer ball – or at least, a ball for playing soccer. For these youth, who may go to school and/or work during the day to support their families, playing soccer in the evening is a way to decompress while creating community through sport.

In a unique salute to uplifting community spirit that drives local and global progress, soccer, sunshine and sustainability will converge for the first bicontinental, co-ed soccer tournament, Earth Day Soccer Classic, at 8 a.m., April 12. As community soccer teams take to the intramural fields near the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, schoolchildren in the African city of Accra, Ghana will play on a field lit by solar technology.

An Earth Day Celebration and Expo – with green-themed, family-friendly activities open to all – will accompany the soccer tournament from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The tournament in Tempe will showcase the One World Futbol, an innovative, nearly indestructible soccer ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat – even when punctured. This ball is proven to outlast hundreds of its conventional counterparts, resulting in far less waste in landfills. The tournament balls will be donated to the Tempe Boys & Girls Club, while tournament proceeds will provide soccer clubs in Accra, Ghana with this ultra-sustainable product. The public can also buy a ball that will be donated to youth in Accra, Ghana through One World Futbol Project’s "Kick It! With Africa” campaign.

Another attraction of the action-packed Earth Day Celebration is the Fifth Annual Solar Cook-Out, where attendees with a curiosity for the culinary will use recycled, solar-powered ovens to prepare earth-friendly eats. Other highlights include catering by Tempe Sister City Youth Group, a sampling of organic tea and healthy snacks, and seed bombs that promise to populate the land with something beautiful. Visitors will also enjoy entertainment by African dancers and drummers. Information about the newest advancements in sustainability, along with opportunities to recycle unwanted electronics and shred sensitive documents will be on hand for visitors who aim to be more sustainability savvy.

Ready to gear up and kick it? Up to nine people can be on a team, with a requirement of three or more female players per team. Matches will be six-on-six, with at least two female players from each team in play at all times. Players must be at least 18 years of age, and registration is $120 per team.

Winners of the competitive division will receive the official men’s USA World Cup 2014 jersey, a nod to the synchronicity of Team USA’s first match against Ghana. Winners of the recreational division will receive gift certificates from local businesses. Prizes for best costume will also be awarded. All players receive an Earth Day Classic T-Shirt, water bottle and solar lip block.

This event is made possible by ASU’s School of Sustainability and its charitable partners, Green Living magazine, One World Futbol Project, Sun Devil Fitness Complex and Tempe Sister City.

For more information on the Earth Day Soccer Classic, Earth Day Celebration and other Earth Month events, visit You can also RSVP to the event on Facebook.