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Wynberg Soccer Service Appeal, Heart and Sole – the Irish Connection

Thursday 6 June 2019: In the same week SAFA Cape Town officially endorsed the WBHS U15 Soccer Super Cup and Wynberg Soccer as a youth development partner in the West Cape, teacher in charge, Mr Roland Rudd, launched a service appeal for quality pre-owned boots and kit to assist clubs and communities desperate for equipment.

Backed by Wynberg’s soccer sponsor, Umbro SA, the first handover took place at the Super Cup to the event’s eventual winners, where Portland High in need of full strip, became the recipients of the 2018 Isimemo sasKapa Umbro competition kit.

With the generosity of our Wynberg families responding to the appeal in our weekly school newsletter, and pledges and offers of kit being made online with social media shares, the schools’ league bye weekend of June 1 & 2 was earmarked for our soccer U17A and 1st XI to present collected kit at outreach actions in Phillipi and Hout Bay.

Planning for the outreach weekend was in place by Wednesday 29 May when the appeal ‘went viral’ in the most traditional way – by word of mouth – a friend told a friend, and within an hour Mr Rudd was connected directly to the Gary Kirsten Foundation, in an unlikely conversation between soccer and cricket development enthusiasts.

The Gary Kirsten Foundation had taken delivery of a massive consignment of sports footwear from the Sligo-based Irish project, In My Shoes, but more than 600 pairs of soccer boots had them scratching their heads and casting about for assistance in getting the footwear safely distributed to kids in need.


Within hours a courier company was headed to Wynberg Boys’ High with cartons of good quality, pre-owned boots donated by young Irish footballers, each pair with a handwritten note from its former owner to the eventual recipient.

And the outreach weekend expanded: with meals donated by Feedem, our Wynberg catering solution, a generous sponsorship from Peninsula Beverages added cases of juice and Powerade to the bakkie load of boots, and in a small convoy, including our players on a bus, Wynberg Soccer set off for clubs in Phillipi, stopping in at Protea Soccer School, and headed into Hout Bay to Imizamo Yethu, and the Hangberg Community.

This short trip distributing over 500 pairs of boots to soccer-mad kids in need was the final part of the journey of caring that began some 14000 km in Sligo, Ireland – as reported online by Irish radio station, Ocean FM:

Sligo-based landscape photographer Ciaran McHugh saw the need for the shoes when he visited Cape Town last year.

There, he noticed the number of children, many of them in gang-ridden areas and with a keen interest in soccer, playing barefoot on rough gravel.

At the same time, he thought of the many not-fully-used pairs of sports shoes and runners often thrown out at home in Ireland, all of which led him to launch the ‘In My Shoes’ appeal.

As a result, children and parents from 40 schools donated more than 2,500 pairs of football boots and sports shoes.

As the story of Wynberg Soccer’s project, and its part in realising a goal for the In My Shoes project, crossed the equator northwards, Mr Rudd got a call from Ocean FM based in Sligo and had a rare Wynberg opportunity to be interviewed on-air to a European radio audience.

In true Wynberg Service style, the Soccer Appeal continues, Mr Rudd adds:

If you would like to get involved with our ongoing Soccer Service Appeal, please bring any clothing, blankets, shoes, boots, balls, and sticks – we will ensure these go to those most in need.

A #WynbergMedia article with thanks to all involved: Umbro SA, In My Shoes, Gary Kirsten Foundation, Feedem, Peninsula Beverages, and our Wynberg Soccer community.

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