Soccer in Ecuador!

Soccer is huge in Ecuador! It is played everywhere: on street corners, parks, plazas – in bare feet, with dirty rags bunched up into a ball wound with string … it is the nations sport.

A few days before leaving on the Compassion Exposure Tour last month for Ecuador, I visited a local soccer store in downtown Guelph, The Soccer Fanatic, to see if they would be able to donate some Soccer equipment to the children at the various Compassion projects we visited. Paul Smit, the owner of the store and his employees were very helpful and generous in donating bags and bags of soccer jersey’s, shorts, shoes, balls – even some referee flags, score sheets and red/yellow cards! This was a “God thing” as I call it. Much of this equipment had been given to the store by store patrons (coaches, parents and their kids) in a recycling program they run to help families in need. I am sure they would have never thought their equipment was going to end up in some of the poorest regions of South America where the average weekly wage is $5 per adult. Paul gave me everything he had in the store on that day along with a new pump to pump up the soccer balls at each project. How thrilling it was to hand out the equipment to the kids and the organizers and see their excitement and hear their words of appreciation. How much more thrilling to see them play their game! Here are a few pictures and video that capture some of these moments …

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A Compassion project court yard in Puertolago, Ecuador, where children were spontaneously playing soccer.

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A boy dribbling a donated soccer ball …

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The smile says it all … pure joy!

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The Compassion Project Director in Puertolago thanks Paul Smit and the patrons of The Soccer Fanatic in Guelph who donated all the soccer equipment.

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A group of children are very excited to pump up a soccer ball with the new pump!

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Students and staff with some of the donated equipment.

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With three students from a Compassion project who were excited to model some donated soccer jersey’s and balls. Go Guelph Royals! I am wearing a Quito Soccer Jersey – the team that won the Ecuador National Soccer Championship this year. When I arrived in Puertolago, a large group of locals cheered as I got off our tour bus. I responded by shouting out “Vivo Quito”!

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Members of the Compassion Exposure Tour team have the opportunity to play a game of soccer with some children in Puertolago.

We have so much we take for granted in Canada – the blessing of sport is just one. My next trip to South America, along with my violin, will include more soccer gear! Until next time …

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