11 February

My Surprise – Equipment Bags For The RISSE Soccer Team

by Jon Katz
The Nike Brasilia Bag

I wrote last week that I was ordering a surprise for the members of the RISSE soccer team. I didn’t want to say what it was, and I also decided to pay for it myself, as I didn’t want to ask other people to pay for it.

The surprise is a Nike Brasilia Sports Equipment Bag, it is considered the coolest equipment bag in sports, it’s a favorite among professional sports players. On one side is the NIke  logo, the other is blank and we are having the bags personalized by stenciling each player’s name on that blank side.

I see how the suburban teams in the league here are intensely supported by parents and schools. The kids have personal coaches, large teams (for rest), fancy European soccer shoes and expensive uniforms, they have scores of people cheering for them.

The bag is classy and business-like, no less than the scrappy team deserves. There’s even a wet-dry compartment for storing shoes and sneakers, and another for water and a change of clothes.

In the countries from which many of these kids come, soccer is played in front yards and available empty fields, the refugee kids often played barefoot or in flip-flops. Nobody had uniforms. In the American suburbs, the teams are lavishly equipped, and the parents leave nothing to change.

Our team- the Bedlam Farm Warriors – has one coach, Ali, and nobody gets a chance to rest. Their stands are usually empty, their parents are too busy working two or three jobs.

So I wanted to give the team a bit of a morale boost, Ali says these bags are “the coolest things ever” and will really boost the team’s self-esteem and pride. I think they’re pretty classy, I thought of getting one myself.

I ordered 20 bags directly from Nike, and they were good enough to give me a discount when I told them what the bags were for, and also free shipping. Still, I choked a bit on the price. I thought I should pay for this one myself because it is a bit extravagant, and  donations should go to food and clothing and tuition. It seems like a personal gift to me. You all have been quite generous, but the needs are great.

Ali and I are taking them to be stenciled during the week. Can’t wait for the kids to see them., and to see them out on the soccer field. We don’t have much money, but we do have style and attitude. And the betting is we will win the regional championship.


  1. I love this. My sister is currently doing women’s health care/midwifery in a refugee camp in Greece. When she returns, I want to point her to the work you are supporting. She lives in western NY.

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