Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Changing the world, one jersey at a time

1112 2TS W

Michael Vernau, left, and Brian Birt stand in a spare room at Vernau's house where they keep all the donated soccer gear they gather and send to impoverished areas. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

By
From page A10 | November 12, 2013 |

A spare bedroom in the Vernau family’s house is no longer exactly spare. Every bit of it, in fact, from the closet space to the drawers, is full. Shelf space is piled high and even the bed isn’t safe — that, too, has become a holding area.

Everywhere in this room there’s soccer stuff: jerseys, shorts, socks, cleats, shirts, balls … whatever a team might need to play a game, it’s here. Even uniforms and equipment for referees.

Jerseys are sorted by size and color with team sets packaged together. Already, there are nearly a dozen sets ready to outfit complete teams.

Davis High School senior Brian Birt, a member of the varsity soccer team, estimates there are 1,000 items in all — and all of it donated by the community so that kids in impoverished areas of the world can play a somewhat official game of soccer.

Holmes Junior High ninth-grader Michael Vernau — who plays for the DHS junior varsity team — began this large collection with his own unneeded soccer gear after hearing from his coach, Jammal Anibaba, how kids at Anibaba’s alma mater in Nigeria play the game without any of the accoutrements that Davis kids are used to.

They play with a ball fashioned from bunched-up plastic bags tied with string, Vernau said, barefoot on the pitch and certainly with no uniforms to speak of.

Hearing that, Vernau decided to take action.

“I looked in my drawers and had tons of old uniforms and cleats collecting dust,” Vernau said. “I started with my stuff, and then began asking friends.”

Turns out most were in the same boat: with jersey after jersey worn only for a single season, outgrown cleats and shorts and socks, too-small soccer balls and more.

“I figured they could be put to better use than just sitting in the back of my closet,” said Birt, who had been thinking along the same lines as Vernau and already had collected more than 300 items when the two decided to join forces.

Together they are in the process of forming a nonprofit, Second Touch Soccer or “2TS,” which operates under the logo of “Helping to change the world, one jersey at a time.”

And they already have.

Over the summer, 2TS prepared shipments for a school in Uganda as well as to Anibaba’s old high school in Nigeria.

Anibaba actually delivered the soccer supplies to Nigeria, while a friend of Vernau’s aunt, who does missionary work in Uganda, arranged for supplies to be delivered to a school there.

Vernau said the kids at Anibaba’s school were thrilled with their new soccer clothes and equipment and Anibaba was excited to see them outfitted much like the American kids he now coaches.

Since summer, the Davis teens have been collecting more and more. Dixon High School supplied a team’s worth of uniforms and the Davis community keeps coming through with donations as well.

All sizes and colors are welcome — from young child to adult.

“Now we’re working on a nonprofit status,” Vernau said, adding that that means a lot of paperwork, not to mention funding (they need lawyers to help draw up the bylaws and other documents).

To raise money, Vernau and Birt have been working a snack bar at tournaments, managing to raise some $800 that way, and will continue looking for fundraising opportunities in the future.

Birt, of course, will be heading off to college in less than a year so the boys want to be sure 2TS can be a sustainable operation, even when they’re not available to run it on a day-to-day basis.

That’s why they’re forming the nonprofit, complete with a board of directors, to keep things going well in to the future.

“Hopefully, the nonprofit status will help it last,” Vernau said.

And while African countries have been their two beneficiaries so far, Vernau said there is no limit to where their assistance can go.

“Soccer is the global sport, so where it’s needed is where it goes,” he said.

Even locally.

Hearing about kids in need in Davis and Woodland, 2TS has stepped up and helped children nearby and will continue to do so.

They still need community support, of course, especially with all those unneeded uniforms and equipment. They’ll collect, wash and distribute all of it, the boys said.

To donate, contact Vernau and Birt at [email protected] Or find them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and learn more at www.secondtouchsoccer.com.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5