Reds give gift for boys of disaster-stricken area

Adelaide United's squad has helped to bring smiles to a couple of boys from Japan's disaster stricken area.

On May 16th, just before the Gamba-Osaka vs. Adelaide match, I visited Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, with the 2 soccer balls handed by the Adelaide United team as a gift for the children of the disaster-stricken area. There, I was able to deliver them to the 2 soccer boys.

The first boy was Masaya Sasaki. He is in the seventh grade of Yamoto Daini junior high school and belongs to the school soccer club. He himself is one of the earthquake victims whose house and school were lost in the tsunami. He is still living in provisional housing and goes to school from there. Holding the ball in his hands, he said, “One day, I want to go to Australia”. The quiet boy showed me a bright smile.

The second boy was Yoshinobu Chiba. He is in the ninth grade of Yamoto Daiichi junior high school and a member of the school soccer club. His mother-s workplace was washed away by the tsunami, and she lost her job. She, however, has been supporting her son-s soccer club activities with her naturally cheerful character even in a time of adversity. Yoshinobu, whose future dream is to become a soccer player, says with shining eyes that he wants to visit Adelaide one day.

All the people have their respective lives and everyone has his own burden of sorrows. The encounters with the boys have made me believe that we have the power to get through anything.

To the soccer club members who practice every day, to the players who have always lived with soccer balls, to their families, to the supporters, to the team staff, to everyone all over the world concerned with soccer, I can say that our love for soccer is always and everywhere shared. I believe that the love for soccer brings us together, makes us swing from joy to sorrow with the outcome of games and enables us to support and encourage each other in times of hardships. We all aspire to create the world of peace and friendship.

I sincerely wish that the thoughtful gifts, the 2 soccer balls to which all of the players of Adelaide United signed the autographs to encourage and cheer up the boys of the disaster-stricken area, are giving them energy and courage. The boys told me that they would write a letter of thanks to the Adelaide United players and staffs. I hope that the friendship fostered through the balls will last long.

In closing, I would like to thank the Adelaide United players, staffs and Mr. Watanabe, who showed me around Ishinomaki.

Reported by M. Akashi / Mega Expression Photo by Moto / Mega Expression The donation was planned, arranged and carried out by Moto, a Sydney -residing photographer, who had a photo exhibition at the Adelaide Airport in 2009.