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Airman collects donations, renovates soccer field for local kids

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystal Wright
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA – An Airman with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing kick started a new humanitarian program, called the PASS Project, with the goal of using soccer as a vehicle for positive change.


The project used a grassroots initiative and works closely with other military support groups in order to provide new and used soccer equipment to local communities in Southwest Asia, according to PASS Project’s mission statement.


Senior Airman Timothy Jones, 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group medical logistician, is passionate of the sport and wishes to share his joy with others, which inspired him to start the program.


“I have an undying passion for this game,” Jones said. “There has been no greater influence in my life than soccer. It has taught me many positive lessons and introduced me to incredible people all around the world.


“The game has done a lot for me and I just felt like this was the perfect opportunity to give that to someone else,” he said, adding he wanted to “pay it forward.”


As part of the project, Airmen renovated a soccer field at a local elementary and about 650 donated soccer balls were distributed over several countries. There were also $4,000 in donations that were used to procure permanent goals, paint and other items needed to complete the renovation. Furthermore, they distributed more than 2,000 personal hygiene items and 100 pairs of socks matched with either a set of shoes or shin guards.


Many of the individuals in these communities live in poverty. Providing locals with these items will improve quality of life, help build community relations, and foster open-minded and inclusive attitudes for service members and locals alike, according to PASS Project’s mission statement. 


“Basically, it just breaks down to us being able to share resources that we have that others don’t have access to and … letting them know that people actually care,” Jones explained. “I wanted it to be more about not just giving them free stuff, but also supporting them and letting them know there’s somebody out here that gives them a voice.”


The inspiration came to Jones after watching some of the local kids playing.


“I saw these two kids playing soccer and their ball was just like totally beat,” Jones said. “I kind of pointed to my feet and a kid kicked me the ball. I juggled (it) around, did a few tricks and passed it back, and they just lit up.”


“That triggered the whole thing,” he added. “I got back and over the next couple of evenings I just scribbling down thoughts and talking it over with some friends back home. (It) just spawned from there.”


The PASS Project stand for positivity, ambassadors, sharing and support.


PASS Project’s goal is to “show the world why soccer is known as ‘the beautiful game,’” because when “sharing game, along with our resources, we’re able to create life changing opportunities that would never occur otherwise,” according to PASS Project’s mission statement. “We will share, educate, and learn together, all while using soccer as our unifying element.”


A belief that Jones holds, not just for the project, but for everyday life as well is that soccer brings people together.


“Being deployed, I find myself in a new and unique environment where I am able to share and create connections through the world’s game. Love, happiness and passion are contagious,” he continued. “I am excited to create a team of ambassadors for those things in this community, all while having ‘a ball at our feet.’”