love.fútbol - 2nd PLACE GLOBAL PRIZE WINNER!

Competition Finalist

This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
Changing Lives Through Football competition.

love.fútbol (LF) empowers impoverished communities to build simple, safe and accessible soccer fields for at-risk youth. Increasing both safety and access keeps children on the field and off of the streets. When they have the opportunity to fulfill their talents and passion, the game becomes a catalyst for youth development, hope, and inspiration.

About You

Organization: love.fútbol Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

Section 1: About You

First Name


Last Name






Section 2: About Your Organization

Organization Name


Organization Website

Organization Phone

202 251 4236

Organization Address

PO Pox 11056, Washington, DC 20008

Is your organization a

Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization

Organization Country

United States, DC, Washington

Your idea

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Name Your Project

love.fútbol - 2nd PLACE GLOBAL PRIZE WINNER!

Country your work focuses on


Describe Your Idea

love.fútbol (LF) empowers impoverished communities to build simple, safe and accessible soccer fields for at-risk youth. Increasing both safety and access keeps children on the field and off of the streets. When they have the opportunity to fulfill their talents and passion, the game becomes a catalyst for youth development, hope, and inspiration.


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What makes your idea unique?

We see passion for soccer as a right for all children. The opportunity to play, similar to the opportunity to eat, breath air and drink water, is a fundamental element to life that makes future productivity possible. Throughout the world, children face great challenges to play soccer. For many of the earth’s most underserved youth, soccer, due to its logistical simplicity, is a rare opportunity to develop rudimentary life skills. The absence of that opportunity, to fulfill a most basic passion and perhaps talent, should not be neglected.
Our focus is on providing right to the game and not on more advanced Development through Football (DTF) development issues, such as health, peace and education programs through soccer. This focus distinguishes our mission and our position in the DTF sector.
Every streetfootballworld (sfw) Network Member (NWM), the most recognized and esteemed global network of DTF organizations, first depends on a place to implement their programs. Our work is a platform for enhancing or expanding their programs. Through specializing in this niche, we hold a position of great leverage within our sector.
Since 2007, we have been developing a partnership with sfw based on this collaboration model. sfw, LF and adidas are currently under negotiations to pilot this strategy in early 2011 in preparation for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

LF engages, mobilizes and empowers communities to build their own soccer fields. We finance raw materials, provide guidance and ultimately serve as a catalyst; locals donate land and labor, and plan and execute their own project. The success of our work is dependent on the community.
As a result, LF projects are community-building experiences that achieve true local ownership and thus, sustainability. A LF soccer field is more than a place to play—it is a tangible and lasting symbol of community strength, proof of successful collaboration with an outside organization and a platform for future change.

Do you have a patent for this idea?


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What impact have you had?

Since 2007, LF has catalyzed six community-driven soccer field projects that currently serve thousands of children. In each case, locals have been of a distinct language and culture—Spanish, indigenous Kaqchikel, Tz’utujil, Mam, and Q’eqchi’—and lived in both rural and urban environments.

The most immediate impact is the organic development of robust soccer communities. In every community we have worked, new players, teams, coaches and leagues have emerged as a natural repercussion of having the tool to play. In Villa Nueva (#1), a 16 year old girl became coach to a new girls’ team of elementary school team students. In Santiago Atitlan (#3), now that they have a venue, the local school entered a citywide “mini-olympics” for the first time – the girls’ team came in second place. In every community, locals host tournaments weekly and bring other communities and schools to play.

LF fields encourage development through sport, as the youth who use our pitches gain the necessary social and individual skills they need to become productive members of society, and avoid the prevalent pitfalls of gang violence and drug and alcohol abuse that impact their communities.

In our project communities, our fields – located next to schools – have encouraged youth to attend and remain in school, adding educational development to the skills they pick up through sport. One of our partners, Technologia Para Educar, supplied 16 computers to the school of Santiago Atitlan to follow up on the momentum generated by our project.

While our fields target younger generations, the impact of our fields extend beyond these beneficiaries. LF facilities serve as centers for immediate communities and neighboring towns. This regional engagement encourages economic development. In Tuitzaj (#4), a local businessman began constructing a store beside the soccer field as soon as the construction site was selected.


Youth face great challenges to play soccer. They run barefoot in trash dumps, chase balls through sewage and dodge cars in the streets. They play on prohibited land at night when there is enough moonlight. In their efforts, they are often injured and killed. Two brothers of Brazilian national team players were killed by cars playing street soccer. Less easy to see, youth become frustrated and lose interest in the game.

The root cause is a lack of resources and the failure of public agencies to create or designate such spaces for youth. Demand exceeds supply and limited soccer spaces are saturated by dominant players. Most commonly girls and less competitive players at the bottom of the “soccer hierarchy” bear the brunt of this shortage. Forced to play in hazardous and undesirable locations, youth stop playing earlier in life, with less committed soccer players and fewer girl athletes, leading to less productive and positive lifestyles.

LF finances the raw materials for the field – the community’s weak link – and engages youth advocates to identify a proper public space (i.e. on public school property), collaborate to realize the project and ensure youth have priority to play.


LF has resisted premature expansion and focused on standardizing to our methodology and operations in Guatemala, to allow for more efficient scale. Our Operations Team in Washington, DC and Guatemala are streamlining the LF Rep Guide – our step-by-step operations manual for LF Reps to efficiently execute projects, regardless of location. Our Operations Team works with KaBOOM!, which has catalyzed thousands of community-driven playground construction projects throughout the US. Together we leverage best practices, enhance our empowerment methodologies and operations manuals. We are working with a World Bank specialist to design a robust impact evaluation of our work on community happiness, educational attainment, income level and female empowerment.

Our long-term strategy for financial sustainability lies across four diversified pillars: 1) traditional philanthropy, 2) grassroots campaign, LF for All, 3) cause-marketing partnership with a corporate partner, and 4) earned-income. Since 2007, LF has won the opportunity to work with four teams of volunteer student consultants at Harvard Business School that have developed strategies for each of these pillars.


The finalized LF Rep Guide will be the basis for LF to hire, train and manage natural soccer leaders – LF Reps – and to catalyze and streamline community-driven soccer field projects internationally. Standardizing our methodology will result in maximized community contribution, reduced per project cost, greater local ownership and increased assurance of future sustainability.

Our impact evaluation will establish LF as a low-cost, high-impact development model through empirical evidence, positioning LF for government, IGO and other large grants.

Through our diversified financial sustainability strategy we will achieve: strong base of philanthropic support from individuals and foundations; viral grassroots movement for and by the global passion-for-soccer community to provide right to the game for all youth; cause-marketing relationship with well-aligned corporate partner to create growth and marketing synergies, benefits to sales and HR development, and; earned-income model to generate revenue advertising on our pitches and merchandising revenue through leveraging our distinctive brand to sell “love and beauty of the game.”

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Launch LF for All, our grassroots movement successfully piloted in spring, 2010 with Real Bethesda, a U-16 girls soccer team from Maryland that actively fundraised to supply all raw materials for our sixth project in Xejuyú, Guatemala. In 2010 and 2011 we expect to hire staff to spearhead program and empower upwards of five new youth teams in the US to provide the right to play to youth in LF communities in Guatemala. We expect LF for All growth to be viral, to invest in the program heavily and for LF for All youth teams to fully fund the raw materials for every LF project in the future.

Initiate cause-marketing relationship with corporate partner to demonstrate efficacy of programs in Guatemala and Brazil in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, work toward a more dynamic relationship to integrate marketing and growth strategies for both parties, in addition to marketing campaigns to boost sales, enhance branding and opportunities for involvement of company personnel to enhance loyalty and decrease employee turnover. Leverage spotlight of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to highlight partnership, demonstrate dedication of corporate brand “true to the game is providing the opportunity to play.”

Finalize Guatemala national operations and the LF Rep Guide in 2010 and LF Rep training program in 2011 in Brazil. Develop job descriptions for all position within development team – LF Rep, LF National Director, LF Correspondent.

Top goal: Hire members from our team of dedicated volunteers full-time.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Our biggest challenge is financing. We have a distinctive idea – proven and enhanced. We have forgone short-term gains for long-term sustainability by refusing to follow traditional “non-profit” fundraising strategies (ie. build a field, fundraise, build a field, fundraise). Our vision is to meet a global demand and we have gone to great lengths to design a scalable, sustainable organization. We have demonstrated our ability to execute on a shoe string budget and have invested in sustainable, steady streams of income that may take longer to pick up steam versus short-term, one-time support and high-investment, low-return philanthropy. We have a large team of dedicated, passionate individuals that have become experts in their positions. With an injection of seed capital, we will invest first in our personnel, which will yield great returns.

The main challenge is remaining committed to our vision and principles under typical conditions in our sector – being an under resourced, start-up social enterprise.

With regard to our operations model, travel for LF Reps and adapting out model to the urban demographic are two of our greatest challenges.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?



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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?


Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

If yes, provide organization name.

How long has this organization been operating?

Less than a year

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

LF expands the reach and impact of SFW network members (NWM).

Through collaboration, LF can facilitate wider geographical reach and greater social impact so that more communities worldwide can experience the power of sport.

SFW NWMs require safe and accessible football facilities to implement their football for health, education, peace and other social development programs. LF specializes in the development of these facilities and can serve as a platform for NWMs expand their geographical reach and extend their programs into new communities.

LF uses a community engagement model that can increase the social impact of NWM efforts. LF football fields are “mas que una cancha ~ more than a football field.” A LF football field is a tangible symbol of community strength. LF projects cultivate leadership, unity and momentum that can be rechanneled in new directions.

LF meets an industry‐wide need for infrastructure, which builds both organizational and community capacity. A specialized partnership between SFW and LF will lead NWMs to more effective program outcomes.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Financing - seed capital to establish national operations and a small team in Guatemala will allow the roll out of projects with great economies of scale.

HR - Hiring the CEO, LF Rep/Director, Guatemala Operations Team, Grassroots Coordinator.

Website - we are in the process of an overhaul. We have struggled to tell our story, because we have focused on our mission. Our website will be a dynamic tool for engaging the global soccer community to take ownership over our mission and provide right to the game for all youth. It will be a effective fundraising, awareness and engagement tool.

The Story

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What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The day love.fútbol was born…
Outside of Cascade D’Ouzoude, Morocco
December, 2005

In a small town in rural Morocco, twelve small children play soccer in the opening of a narrow alleyway. A canal runs lengthwise through the middle of their makeshift “field,” drops down a foot deep and spans about eight inches wide. The hard, ninety-degree corners are similar to that of a concrete, street-corner step and it is clear that these children grew up here because they jump back and forth without even looking. They play there because there is no where else to go.

The canal that ran through these children’s field poses a basic, avoidable challenge. The risk for these children is not simply the risk of injury, but the more grave threat that without a simple place to play, they may lose interest. Throughout the world, soccer often serves as the sole positive outlet for children and we aim to keep them on the field.

In this alleyway in December of 2005, the idea for love.fútbol was born. The story is a demonstration of a common problem throughout the world—children lack a simple, safe place to play soccer.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Drew Chafetz
Co-founder & CEO, love.fútbol

Drew Chafetz was born and raised in Washington, DC, and has had a soccer ball at his feet since before he can remember. By the age of twelve he had traveled to six continents with his family and spoken the language of soccer at many stops along the way. The game allowed him to actively participate in other cultures, bond with youth of the world and served as his most freeing means of self-expression. These experiences cultivated a fundamental understanding, appreciation and respect for the power of soccer. He went on to play at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA and then at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Economics and Business in May, 2006. After graduation Drew co-founded love.fútbol with a good friend and teammate from Dickinson.

love.fútbol empowers underserved communities worldwide to build simple, safe soccer fields for youth. One day, all children will have the opportunity to fulfill their passion for soccer. The game provides hope, inspiration and is a platform for personal and community development.

love.fútbol has empowered six communities in Guatemala to realize their own soccer field projects for youth.

“I am immeasurably grateful to the beautiful game and determined to give back. It is a privilege to share the inspiration in my life with children who share my passion yet face great challenges to play soccer.”

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer

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239 weeks ago Geoffrey Miller said: Thank you everyone for your votes, comments and feedback over the course of this competition! We are pleased and honored to finish in ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
239 weeks ago love.fútbol - 2nd PLACE GLOBAL PRIZE WINNER! has been chosen as a winner in Changing Lives Through Football.
240 weeks ago said: I recently had the pleasure of attending a luv.futball organized activity in New York City and was blown away by the amount of time, ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
240 weeks ago said: I love this project even more than futobol about this Competition Entry. - read more >
240 weeks ago said: This is an amazing cause. Let's help it grow! about this Competition Entry. - read more >
240 weeks ago Geoffrey Miller said: Want to see where your vote is going? Check out photos in the post above of our seventh field, currently under construction in the ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
241 weeks ago Geoffrey Miller said: Check out our facebook page for photos! We are excited and honored to be working with such a great community to provide a safe place ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
241 weeks ago Drew Chafetz said: Few people know love.fútbol began in Morocco. That's a soccer passionate country – though, as we know, there are many. At the right ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
241 weeks ago said: This is a fantastic organization working for a critical cause. While LF works in Guatemala, there is a demand for their product all ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >
242 weeks ago said: Soy costarricense, vivo en Guatemala y soy una testigo fidedigna y ocular del excelente trabajo hecho por en este lindo país ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >