Around the globe, many do not see soccer as just a game but as a source of passion and a way of life. For Drew Chefetz (USA), CEO and Co-Founder of love.fútbol and Manoel Silva (Brazil), the company's COO and Director of Operations, soccer is a means to make the world a better and safer place.
A non-for-profit organization, love.fútbol works with local communities to build simple, inexpensive, but durable and safe soccer fields, where children can play. Not only that, they engage the community in the construction process, and with a local representative working on the ground, ensure that the project creates an interpersonal soccer culture:
"We often say that the construction of the soccer field is a means to help the community realize its potential and to promote ownership of public spaces, forms of sociability, as well as values, such as self-esteem, collectivity, respect with the differences, and social articulation." - said Mr. Silva.
The TIC Americas 2011 finalists have completed 12 projects over the last 6 years, in various communities in Guatemala and Brazil, helping 11,800 children and creating a space for 26,000 community hours. The next step, expansion into other countries and according to Mr. Silva, TIC Americas has been key for the opportunities in Brazil, where they are currently working on their 4th and 5th projects in the Curitiba and Foz do Iguaçu respectively: "TIC Americas gave us visibility and credibility. It has been very important for our first expansion (Brazil), when people didn't know the organization. By participating and becoming one of the finalists of a competition that is part of the OAS opened door for partnerships and funding in Brazil."
One of love.fútbol's main objectives is to be a means and not an end. The non-for-profit is an excellent example of the possibilities that become available when a young entrepreneur combines passion, perseverance and a great idea to help communities in need.