SB youth brings clean water to Honduras through soccer

Jake Yanolly with fellow soccer players in Honduras

Jake Yonally with fellow soccer players in Honduras

Jake Yonally of the Santa Barbara Soccer Club?s Boys U13 White Team recently returned from Honduras, where he and a group of youth from Hands4Others (H4O) spent a week installing a safe water system and building latrines, along with other community outreach in various villages.

Soccer4Water

Yonally engaged several peers to participate in the Soccer4Water campaign. Pictured here with Yonally are Mathias Ericksen, Lucas Eilbacher, Owen Lambe, Billy Bertha, Kinkaid Avery, Guillermo Mendoza, Will Curtis, Harrison Foy, Gavin Guilfoyle. Front seated: Gabriel Farhadian, Patch Curtis, Zyrus Perez, and Gideon Farhadian

Wanting to use his passion for soccer to help others, Jake joined H4O over a year ago and formed his own chapter called Soccer4Water that raises funds to provide safe water in countries around the world. H4O is a movement of young people started in Santa Barbara by three local teenagers who no longer accepted the idea that where you live determines the ability to access safe, clean water. Together with their families and a growing number of compassionate young people, they have provided water to well over 100,000 people in ten countries around the world.

The formation of H4O?s Soccer4Water was a natural development for Jake. He found a way to ?make the beautiful game more beautiful,? said Mick Luckhurst, former UK soccer commentator and Santa Barbara Soccer Club Board Member.

Last May, Jake?s soccer team and other Soccer Club members, supported his goal to raise $10,000. through H4O?s Walk4Water in Santa Barbara to fund a system for an entire village. Jake also raised money by scoring goals in soccer matches, direct appeal letters to friends and businesses, and working in his family?s olive grove. So far, he has raised 60% of his goal, which he hopes to complete by the end of the summer.

?I love to connect with people through soccer and help others at the same time,? says Jake.

While in Honduras, Jake spent his time with the H4O team building latrines and installing a system, then scrimmaging with the locals with donated balls from the Santa Barbara Soccer Club.

Jake credits Billy Gallagher, his coach and the Executive Director of the Soccer Club, with his development as a player and the gift of experiencing soccer in a bigger context. Last April, Jake?s team had the opportunity to represent Santa Barbara soccer by traveling to the UK with EPL Sports to train and compete against top academy teams. Like the UK, the experience in Honduras was life changing for Jake, but it also changed the lives of others through the gift of clean, safe water.

For more information on how to get involved with H4O?s Soccer4Water, please contact Jake at Jake@hands4others.org.

A special thanks to Drew Dusebout for writing this article!!!

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