It is football’s equivalent of the Olympic torch and will arrive in New Zealand ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Organisers urge the New Zealand football community to embrace it.
Project manager Andrew Aris, a Kiwi, keeps Friends of Football readers updated with The Ball’s progress …
By Andrew Aris
Founder and President of Spirit of Football
First half: July to December 2022
Here’s where The Ball took us … and who we engaged with:
Five cities, 20 days, worked with 15 partner groups and ran three workshops.
More than 750 participants signed our pledge to make the world a better place, including David James who talked about his Football Rebooted project, revamping and giving football boots to those who need them.
Our visit to Turkey saw an education resource exchange with Yuvam Dūnya in Istanbul at the Beşiktaş Football Club and our more than 50 pledge signatories included the Mayor of Sisli.
In 30 hectic days, we ran two workshops in Bundesliga clubs, staged an all-star match and undertook a regional bike tour.
And we got more than 500 signatures and pledges.
German football legend Oliver Bierhoff signed The Ball.
In 13 days, we took The Ball to three states, held 13 events, three university workshops …and collected more than a thousand signatures, including Trinity Rodman, daughter of Dennis and US Women’s National Team Player.
We were part of an education resource exchange between Spirit of Football and Football Ecology France, in Lyon, and we held a school holiday workshop with FEF in Paris.
United Arab Emirates
In seven days, we attended a conference, preparing for COP 28 in Dubai with gender equality workshops.
We set up a wall to post pledges at an event in Abu Dhabi.
We took The Ball to the Azraq Refugee Camp in November/December where we explored creative and sustainable solutions of the camp inhabitants to help them in their daily lives.
The Ball arrived in Egypt in time for the UN Climate Action Hub at COP 27 in November.
Second half: March to August 2023
Our half-time break has given us the energy to bring The Ball to New Zealand and Australia with a series of events and activities such as:
In March, we’ll take The Ball to Vietnam where we’ll work with partners such as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Vietnam and the Academy for Journalism and Communication (Hanoi), and the NGO Football for All Vietnam (Hue city – Thua Thien Hue province) and Common Goal.
Our partners in Cambodia include Common Goal and the Indochina Starfish Foundation.
Our partners in Thailand include Common Goal and ASA Foundation. Our activities will include the training of trainers for Common Goal members from selected SouthEast Asian countries.
Our partners include ASA Foundation, Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) and Youth for Climate (KAMY). MYD is the only youth-led organisation in Malaysia, which focuses on climate change policy and negotiations.
Our partners in Indonesia include ASA Foundation and Common Goal.
We’ll work with our partners, the Fiji Football Association, running training of trainers sessions.
READ MORE: One-sided football game highlights climate change and global inequalities >>>>
New Zealand (July)
Our activities in New Zealand include a workshop with our partner Earth Diverse.
Experiential learning: Gender inequality and climate change felt through playing football.
The Ball will be in New Zealand during the first two weeks of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Who wants to connect with The Ball? Please get in touch.
Football United is organising Festival 23 in Sydney during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Ball will be there in the first two weeks of August 2023 and a team of Spirit of Football trainers will be running workshops there.
How you can get involved
Step 1: Take The Ball into your community and invite everyone to head and play with it!
Step 2: Invite everyone to sign The Ball. Sign up to support fair play, gender equality and sustainability under the motto of “One Ball, One World”.
Step 3: Invite everyone to make a pledge a commitment in support of fair play, gender equality and sustainability for you and your community.
Step 4: Invite everyone to make a statement — a commitment in support of fair play, gender equality and sustainability for you and your community.
Follow our journey
The Ball has its own website and you can follow our journey for the next year through its pages.
Click here to see the site >>>>
READ MORE: Click here for our earlier stories about The Ball >>>>
Andrew Aris is a former New Zealand U-20 international who is currently based in Germany. He is the founder and president of Spirit of Football, an education and advocacy not-for-profit organisation that has taken balls around the planet to five World Cups.
How to contact
If you want to be involved when The Ball arrives in New Zealand, you can contact Andrew Aris by email here >>>>
Follow The Ball on twitter @the_ball.
Click here for more about The Ball project >>>>
Click here to learn more about Spirit of Football >>>>