About Diji Foundation
Diji Foundation is a global soccer charity fueled by kids, fans, and athletes who believe that giving back and playing for something bigger can make the world more beautiful.
In addition to hand-delivering new soccer balls, used soccer cleats, soccer kits and we provide “Level The Field” playing opportunities and clean drinking water to kids in disadvantaged situations around the world.
The gift of a new soccer ball can change the world for a kid. Millions of children living in poverty will never own a real ball. Crude substitutes made from trash and string are their only option. We believe they deserve better.
How It All Started
The story behind DIJI FOUNDATION
In the summer of 2009, I went to Nigeria to play on the Nigerian youth National team and the players I saw there told me that coming to camp was the first time they were playing with real soccer balls and wearing real soccer boots. Some said they grew up playing bear feet. I remember on an off day going to a nearby village and I took my soccer ball along thinking I might be able to get a few pick-up games going with the local kids. When we arrived, there were a few boys standing around, so I tossed them my ball. In a matter of seconds, dozens of kids from all over the village were playing and having a good time. It was so much fun to watch.
Up until that moment, most of these kids never played the game of soccer with a real soccer ball. As I watched them, it dawned on me that I had several soccer balls in my garage at home just sitting there. I have several soccer boots. These kids didn’t even have one. I thought to myself, they need to have this ball and my soccer cleat.. . So, I did what anyone else would do – I walked over to them and presented it as a gift.
As we finished the well and began packing up, one of the boys saw us, grabbed the soccer ball and brought it back to me. All the kids followed. I said to him with a smile, “No, this is now yours. I’ve given it to you. And here are my boots” Immediately they ran, cheered and celebrated like they had just won the lottery! I was moved by their response. I loved seeing and knowing that they had a real ball to call their own. A REAL SOCCER CLEAT TO PLAY A GAME THEY LOVED WITH. I was also blown away at how something so small and simple could have such a big impact.
When I returned to the United States, I kept thinking about those kids in Nigeria and how that soccer ball brought them so much joy. Knowing that there are millions of other kids around the world in the same kind situation, I decide that I wanted to do more to help.
And that’s how DIJI FOUNDATION started.
One Ball At A Time – One soccer cleat at a time!
It’s hard for me to think about what my life would be like today if I had never given away my soccer ball and cleat—not to mention the lives of everyone else who’s ever been on the giving or receiving end of a Diji Foundation. Today there are tons of people from all over the world involved with us, using what they love to do to share the Beautiful Game with kids who have nothing. I believe this what makes our organization so special. I’ve discovered that the simple gift of a soccer ball and soccer cleats not only has power to change a kid’s life, it has the ability to revolutionize society.