GNBA’s soccer program began in 2009. The previous year, 10 year old Matthew Crawford, visiting Bura with his parents Sue and Glen Crawford, was surprised to see children playing soccer with balls made of rags, plastic bags and string. On his return to the U.S., he solicited donations of used soccer balls from his friends at school and from his teammates at Seacoast United Soccer Association. Four years later, twelve schools and over 700 boys and girls were playing on teams and taking part in the tournament. Until that time, girls had not played on school teams in Bura.
The tournament is named the GNBA Soccer Tournament and Matthew has been featured as guest of honor. He and his family have solicited and received donations of balls, uniforms, other equipment and have helped provide trophies and certificates for the games. GNBA has helped with shipping and tournament costs and more recently has purchased “One World’ soccer balls designed to stand up to use on the hard packed rough grounds used for play in much of the developing world.
Soccer coach, Ampoliat Mwasaka from Bura, was one of three teachers who visited Newburyport in 2015 as part of a GNBA program entitled "Sharing the Teaching Experience". He was introduced to sports programs and staff in area schools and learned about how sports are managed and integrated into education here. GNBA has encouraged him to look for team and tournament sponsors in Bura and has committed to matching funds raised by him – funds raised from “Friends of Ampoliat” will be used for this purpose and donations with this designation are welcomed.