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Tournament aids Africa

Claire Brady | Monday, September 12, 2011


“Lose the Shoes,” a three vs. three barefoot soccer tournament benefitting a soccer program in Africa, opens Monday on South Quad, and its organizers say it will be bigger than ever.

Senior Kyle Smith, a tournament coordinator, said this is the first time the tournament will last three days in its three-year history at Notre Dame. 

“We’re trying to expand,” he said. “Our goal for the future its to make ‘Lose the Shoes’ something on the level of Bookstore Basketball.”

Unlike Bookstore Basketball, however, “Lose the Shoes” is not a tournament unique to Notre Dame. 

Held on numerous college campuses across the country, “Lose the Shoes” raises money for Grassroot Soccer, an organization founded in 2002 by pediatrician Tommy Clark, son of Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark.

“We’re not the first to do it, but we’re trying to make it big due to the ND connection,” Smith said.

Grassroot Soccer “uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to stop the spread of HIV,” according to its website. The program operates flagship sites in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Smith said he hopes the three-day tournament will help raise greater awareness for the organization. 

While the organizers did not have final numbers for registration available Sunday, they expect to raise more money than past years due to successful advertising and promotion. 

“The men’s soccer team has been helping to promote ‘Lose the Shoes’ a lot at their games,” Smith said. “We held a preview three vs. three game during halftime at the first home game.” 

Registration for “Lose the Shoes” closed Sunday, but Smith encouraged all students to support the cause whether or not they are participating in the tournament.

“You can come out, watch the games and donate money at the tournament or online,” he said. “You don’t need to play in order to help out.”