Interesting news today… Has it already been nine years since my friend Timo shared with me his dream of launching a youth soccer league? His passion for youth soccer “had me at hello.” Indonesians live with a love for the game, but a decade ago there was no grassroots movement to foster the talents of Indonesian youth.
We took out an ad in the newspaper announcing the launching of Liga Charis. This, the first ever youth soccer league that we know of, would give boys a chance to unleash and hone their talents. We stood in front of a crowded auditorium filled with curious and excited soccer fans from all around the city. The game of soccer would emerge from within our own communities and would impact the way soccer is played across the nation. Liga Charis would bring a new character, and a quality to the game built on fair play, teamwork and a faithfulness to the fundamentals.
One man stood up and asked, “Why are you doing this for us?”
“Because we care about youth in our city,” Timo answered. “And we care about the future of Indonesian soccer.” Forty two teams signed up. A soccer ministry was born. Today, talented young men come from afar to live in our city and receive coaching. Since that first year, several copycat leagues have sprung up, to our delight. After all, imitation is the greatest flattery. Over twenty of our players have now gone pro and dozens of others are in the pipeline.
This month, the Indonesian soccer federation is holding its first ever “Soccer Congress.” Rather than meeting in megacity Jakarta, they have chosen Malang, citing our city’s “commitment to the development of youth soccer.” The rivers of time flow quietly into tomorrow… dreams become reality and take on a life of their own.
I had to laugh when I heard that Timo hasn’t been invited. The Soccer Federation has no idea that our city’s movement of soccer originated as a dream in his heart.
Timo, my friend… a toast to your dreams!