Soccer diplomacy puts bounce in nonprofit

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Alex Daley and Matt Scott have seen what a soccer ball can do.

In February, the two recent University of St. Thomas graduates traveled to Pokhara, Nepal, where they built a soccer field at a refugee camp for children who attend Great Compassion Boarding School.

While Daley and Scott began leveling the land for the playing surface, the children jumped in and helped them clear trash and rocks.

"Never underestimate the power a simple thing like a ball has to change the lives of the people of the world," Daley, 23, says in a YouTube video documenting their visit to Nepal and other Third World countries last year.

Now, the two UST graduates are taking their mission of using soccer for social change on the road across Minnesota.

Through their project, "Unite Minnesota," Daley and Scott, along with friend Tommy Hanlon, are planning to dribble a soccer ball across the state to raise awareness and money for their new nonprofit that focuses on building soccer fields in disadvantaged communities.

They plan to begin the 420-mile trip from International Falls to the Iowa border Sunday.

Originally published: 05/26/2013, Pioneer Press