Rummage sale to benefit African soccer players | April 11, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - April 11, 2008

Rummage sale to benefit African soccer players

Nonprofit group about to score its goal: two fields for villages

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

It takes a rummage sale to raise a soccer field in a South African village. At least that's what FUNDaFIELD is hoping, as members spread the word about the event being held at San Ramon Valley High School on Sunday morning.

"We are $4,400 away from our goal of $36,000, which will fund two fields and benefit over 3,000 people in five villages," said Garrett Weiss, a junior at Monte Vista High School and co-founder of the group.

They have fully funded their first soccer field at Mdluli High School in Hluvukani, South Africa, and now are in the final stretch to fund the second, at Manyangan High School.

FUNDaFIELD was started by Garrett and his brother Kyle after they attended the 2006 World Cup games in Germany. When they watched Angola vs. Iran, they were hugely impressed - by the fans.

"Angola had been a very unstable country for some time and the fans were so excited to be there," recalled Kyle Weiss. "We talked to them and realized how amazing it was they were there and how low their standard of living was."

"Can you imagine never having played on a soccer field before?" asked Garrett Weiss.

The brothers returned home determined to help soccer players in African towns and villages by providing fields and soccer equipment. They started a Web site - - and began to sell squares on it for $1, with each letter in the organization's name having 10,000 squares.

"When all the squares are filled out, it will be $100,000," explained Kyle Weiss.

It may sound like a long shot but in just over a year, $31,688 had been raised through the squares. Kyle Weiss said Mustang Courage, an under-10 girls soccer team, also raised money with different fundraisers and contributed almost $4,000. For its efforts, the team will have its name on one of the score boards. A lucrative fundraiser was selling umbrellas on stands at soccer tournaments - "One weekend we pulled in over $1,000," said Kyle Weiss.

Some members of the FUNDaFIELD team - Garrett and Kyle Weiss, Kelsey Gunderson, Chris Gailey, Justin Walz, Jake Becker and Isaac Liang - will be traveling to South Africa in June to meet the students and to join them in games on the new fields.

"The weeds and dirt will soon be gone and beautiful new fields will be there," said Garrett Weiss.

While they are visiting South Africa, FUNDaFIELD, in collaboration with the Student Movement for Real Change and the Buffelshoek Trust, will sponsor a two-day soccer tournament on the new fields.

"The tournament will feature 16 teams of girls and 16 teams of boys in the first tournament to ever be held in this area," said Garrett Weiss.

Saul Garlick, executive director for Student Movement for Real Change, recently returned from South Africa and reported to FUNDaFIELD.

"They know you're coming, they know they're getting a real field and they cannot wait! The impact on their lives is palpable," he wrote. "When the girls were scrimmaging, they were not alone. Indeed, hundreds of students from Mdluli were watching."

Sale with a goal

What: FUNDaFIELD Rummage Sale; come to buy or bring items to sell

Where: San Ramon Valley High School parking lot

When: 8 a.m.-noon, Sunday, April 13

Why: Raising money to build soccer fields in South Africa