Joseph Lanzillo, of Glen Ellyn’s Boy Scout Troop 41, has collected and shipped more than 300 pairs of gently used children’s athletic shoes to benefit Coaches Across Continents, an innovative development organization that uses soccer to build relationships with communities in Africa and around the world.
Lanzillo, 17, a senior on the Glenbard West Varsity Soccer team, and captain of FC Glen Ellyn Lakers U-17 team, conducted the shoe drive as part of his service project to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. He also organized barefoot soccer games for local youth to raise awareness of the needs in Africa and to generate funds to defray shipping costs.
He hosted “Barefoot Soccer for Barefoot Kids” on the indoor turf at Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center, consisting of a tournament for 8- and 9- year-old children in April and another tournament for high school players in June. More than 85 players, coaches, referees and other volunteers turned out to support the project.
“It was fun to play barefoot, but our turf is probably a lot softer than the fields they have in Africa,” said Tyler Yeager, 8, of Glen Ellyn.
With a captive audience of young soccer enthusiasts, Lanzillo took the opportunity to emphasize how passion for the “world’s greatest game” unites players of all ages who come from vastly different circumstances.
For more information about the project or to make a donation, e-mail Lanzillo at email@example.com or visit http://coachesacrosscontinents.com.