Soccer Juggles for AIDS

a The Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer teams will be holding a juggle-a-thon to raise money for Grassroot Soccer, an international HIVAIDS awareness and education organization. Donors pledge a given amount on a per-juggle basis. The organization uses the funds to help professional African soccer players use their celebrity status to teach AIDS prevention strategies to African youths across the continent. The program has four Americans permanently in Africa, working with up to eight African soccer players at once. The players then go to African schools to educate the children. Grassroot Soccer was founded by Dr. Thomas Clark and Ethan Zohn, a professional soccer player who gained celebrity status as the winner of Survivor: Africa and Survivor: All Stars. Zohn used a large portion of his Survivor winnings to fund the program. The Gates Foundation also provided money to kick-start the young organization. Clark first developed his idea while living and playing professional soccer in Zimbabwe, a country in which one in three people are infected with HIVAIDS. Zohn played on a team in Zimbabwe as well. Andover’s soccer teams are participating as part of a larger project, Kick AIDS, in a nationwide team juggle-a-thon. Kick AIDS is designed to allow high school teams to join the fight against the AIDS epidemic in a fun, competitive manner. The teams that raise the most money will be rewarded with prizes. According to, the top money-raising teams are rewarded with a complete Hummel warm-up kit. Among the 90 teams participating in the event are Exeter, Governor Dummer, Cushing, Hotchkiss and Loomis Chaffee. Last year a pilot-program of Kick Aids was run on a much smaller scale, and raised over 10,000 dollars. Jen Clark, the wife of founder Dr. Clark, said, “We have no idea how much money we will raise this year, but frankly, money isn’t the only issue. This program is intended to serve two purposes: of course, money is a huge reason and it will greatly help our program in Africa, but raising awareness among children in America is a big deal as well. We need high school students, the future leaders of the world as the AIDS epidemic grows, to be aware of this.” The players have a large part of the season to amass donors, and then hold a competition in practice to see who can collect the most touches without dropping the ball. Ryan McDougall ’05 said, “There are a few guys who could run away with the most juggles. My picks would be either T.J. Thompson ’06, Alex Clifford ’05, or Jason Zhu ’07.” For the girls, Julie Wadland ’06 suggested, “I think Ali Holliday ’06, Catherine Wright ’06, or Rosie Raymond-Sidel ’08 all have a good shot at winning it.”