INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ethan King just wrapped up his junior season playing soccer at Butler University.
But, he really got a kick out of soccer about ten years ago.
Ethan lived in South Africa when he was eight and nine-years-old. He returned to the continent months later in 2009 with his father, who was on a mission to restore broken water wells in rural communities.
“You got to travel five or six hours from the city to get to these places,” King recalls. “It’s like in the middle of nowhere.”
To stay entertained at a village in Mozambique while his dad worked, Ethan played with a soccer ball he brought from home. The reaction from kids watching him in the village opened Ethan’s eyes.
“As soon as I brought the soccer ball out, they wanted to play. It’s like crazy they’ve never kicked a real ball before,” King said. “There’s twenty or thirty kids that just came out of nowhere.”
Sharing his soccer ball that day inspired him to kick off Charity Ball when he was just 10-years-old. Today, Charity Ball has donated hundreds of soccer balls to kids in more than 50 countries.
“I never thought me giving away my ball when I was ten-years-old to a group of kids in a village would result in what I’m doing today,” he said. “We’ve done some cool World Cup ventures with Continental Tire and Johnson & Johnson.”
But the coronavirus pandemic has put his soccer ball donations on hold. So, King has launched a campaign under Charity Ball called United 19, which intends to educate people in African villages about the the virus.
“A lot of these individuals are immunocompromised because they don’t have access to clean drinking water,” he said. “And then just exposure to other illnesses you know HIV and AIDS, dysentery, TB (tuberculosis).”
King says he hopes to raise $25,000 for his United 19 campaign.
“Those ten and fifteen dollar donations go a long way,” he said.
The link to donate can be found here.