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Berkeley Company Makes Children Around the World Smile, One Soccer Ball at a Time

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SJ.Merc

San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News Group (BANG)

Mark Emmons

BERKELEY -- The inspiration was a heart-tugging news report about traumatized refugee children from Darfur living in such horrific conditions that they were kicking around rolled-up trash as an improvised soccer ball.

What if there was an all-terrain ball, Tim Jahnigen thought, that was capable of lasting even in the harshest conditions and could be distributed to regions of extreme poverty?

And when an international rock star with a social conscience heard about Jahnigen's bold idea, he issued a bold challenge.

Let's make it, Sting told him.

The result: One World Futbol, a durable ball designed to never go flat or wear out -- putting smiles on the faces of countless children in desperate regions around the world as well as some disadvantaged youngsters in the United States.

All kids just want to play, whether they were born in Beverly Hills, Belfast or Beirut," Jahnigen said. "Play is in our DNA. This allows them to do that. The magic isn't in the ball. It's in the kids who are playing with it."

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