Lose the Boot Barefoot Soccer
(Miranda Chrislock)

Timbers lose their boots for HIV/AIDS prevention

On Saturday, May 21, 200 of Portland’s youth soccer players gathered at Buckman Field in northeast Portland for the second-annual Portland Barefoot 3v3 Soccer Jamboree, hosted by the Portland Timbers, Alameda and Northeast United.

The all-day event was a success, as over $5,000 was raised through event registration, raffles and the Timbers’ “Lose the Boot” auction at Saturday night’s match against the Columbus Crew at JELD-WEN Field. Timbers players donated game-worn boots that were auctioned off to fans at the game. Proceeds from the day supported Mercy Corps’ work with Grassroot Soccer to prevent HIV infection among young people in Haiti.

At the jamboree, 50 teams of kids aged seven to 14 played barefoot matches and tried their hand at various soccer carnival games.

The youngsters were treated to a barefoot exhibition match featuring Timbers community ambassadors Ross Smith and Scot Thompson, former Timbers midfielder Josh Cameron, and five members from the Portland Timbers U-23s. A second friendly match between the Portland Rain women’s professional team and the Portland State University women’s soccer team followed.

Loveness Wesa & the Bantus and DJ Abdul Fofanah provided African music throughout the day, while African food was provided by Sengatera Ethiopian Restaurant, with proceeds donated to the cause.

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is an international non-profit focused on HIV prevention and a leader in the sport for development field. The organization uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and empower young people in Africa to live healthy and productive lives. GRS conducts HIV prevention and life skills interventions in over 15 countries, to provide youth with the knowledge, skills, and support to live healthier lives. GRS has graduated 400,000 youth worldwide and plans to educate 1 million youth by 2014. For more information, visit www.grassrootsoccer.org.