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One World Futbol provides lasting play to children around the world

February 28, 2013

On this last day of February, in the spirit of sharing love, we’d like to shine a light one of our favorite fellow B Corps - One World Futbol, founded by Tim Jahnigen. We met Tim at the B Retreat in October, and were touched by his story and his company’s admirable mission.

Tim’s journey is an inspiring one. After a career spanning many industries - music, technology, and carpentry, among others - Tim saw a documentary featuring children in Darfur playing soccer with a makeshift ball made from trash and twine. Play is the children’s form of joy in an otherwise often bleak and dangerous environment, but traditional soccer balls can’t hold up to the tough terrain and rough conditions. Tim was moved to research a material that could stand up to the rigors of any environment and allow children the outlet they need. He discovered PopFoam, which is a seemingly indestructible material very similar to that found in Crocs shoes.

Tim needed time and funding to research how PopFoam could be used to create a soccer ball, and he found it in longtime friend in the music industry, Sting. In about a year, Tim had a prototype: the “One World Futbol,” named after Sting’s song “One World (Not Three)” in recognition of his crucial role in the project. After testing in Rwanda, Haiti, and Iraq, it was clear the ball could withstand almost any kind of abuse. The ball doesn’t deflate or become worn or waterlogged, and remains playable even when punctured. Tim estimates one ball lasts about thirty years. Because the ball doesn’t need to be inflated, it eliminates the need for a pump and needle, which are often difficult to come by and easily misplaced or broken.

These benefits create a few complications when it comes to distribution. Because the balls don’t deflate, they are more complicated to ship. While the cost of manufacturing the ball will go down as demand increases, a standard ball is still too expensive for some buyers. Demand is increasing, though - and rapidly. Tim is scrambling to meet the production goals he’s set for the company, but the work is worth it. With the One World Futbol, children in refugee camps, conflict zones, inner cities, disaster areas, and other disadvantaged communities can experience the joy, educational benefits, and emotional development of play.

Through its “Buy One, Give One” program, One World Futbol donates a ball to a community in need when one is purchased at retail price. Tim hopes to get millions of the indestructible soccer balls into children’s hands as the company grows. We’re confident he will achieve his goal, and proud to support Tim as a fellow B Corp.

Images courtesy of One World Futbol

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