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Darfur, Soccer, Sting, and Triton the Lion
By John Heymann

Download/Print: Darfur, Soccer, Sting, and Triton the Lion [ 19.4 KB ]

A real world example of a social venture that is pushing into new territory is the One World Futbol Project. A hybrid organization made up of a for-profit Limited Liability Company (LLC), registered as a B-Corp (Benefit Corporation), along with a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation. With help from NewLevel Group, the founders developed a business plan, secured start-up funding, and launched the business during the World Cup, quickly earning great buzz for the project.

In the case of One World Futbol, the aspirational vision for changing the world is held by the for-profit LLC, in partnership with the nonprofit entity, which carries out the mission. Read on to hear their story…

An All-Terrain Ball for the World

Young Darfur refugees were engrossed in a makeshift game of soccer under the hot sun — with the "ball" a sphere made of trash tied up with twine and the "field" a patch of dirt and rocks with barbed wire for boundaries. Their game was captured on film by a CNN crew. Watching this footage at home, Tim Jahnigen, an inventor, song-writer, and music producer, imagined that these kids might have once had a regular soccer ball, which had worn out or been punctured by use in such a harsh setting — or perhaps the ball was deflated but the needle was lost or the pump broken – the fact was that it was both inspirational and heartbreaking to see these children find a way to play, even in the midst of overwhelming poverty and hardship. Tim was inspired to design a ball that played like a "real futbol," but would never wear out, never go flat, never need a pump. Such a ball could match the joy and determination of people to play “the beautiful game” of soccer — anywhere.

Tim's idea remained in the concept stage until a chance conversation with the entertainer Sting, with whom Tim produces a bi-annual concert at Carnegie Hall. Once Tim shared his vision of an indestructible soccer ball, Sting offered to donate money for R&D, and so the first "One World Futbol," now patent-pending, was born. In recognition of his crucial early support, the name of the ball and of the project were based on the song "One World," written by Sting.

The One World Futbol can be played on any surface, anywhere — not just grass or regulation soccer fields. Unlike other soccer balls, the skin of the One World Futbol won't wear off no matter how abrasive the playing area. The ball requires no pump or needle and will never go flat even if punctured. The One World Futbol is ultra-durable, making it ideal for kicking around on all surfaces.

Recognizing the global need for a resilient soccer ball that could play under any conditions, the One World Futbol Project is selling the new ball online through a Buy One/Give One model. For every ball bought, the One World Futbol Project is committed to donating a second ball to a non-governmental organization working with people who live in harsh environments around the world, including refugee camps, UN hot spots, conflict zones, inner cities, and poor communities worldwide.

How durable is the One World Futbol?

While in South Africa for the World Cup, Tim paid a visit to the Johannesburg Zoo. The zookeeper gave the ball to Triton the Lion, certain that, like so many other balls they had given to Triton, this one would also pop or deflate within the first few minutes. After 30 minutes or so, Triton was exhausted. And the One World Futbol? It had some tooth marks to be sure, but it was still bouncing!

Watch a truck run over the One World Futbol: One World Futbol vs. Truck

For more information, visit

John Heymann works with socially responsible organizations and their leaders in advancing missions that benefit people, planet, and profits.  He can be reached at (707) 255-5555 x105 or

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