“I felt like this is it. I’m going to combine my two passions for fair trade and for soccer, and start a company to provide soccer lovers with premium quality soccer balls.”
– Senda founder Santiago Halty
We know how passionate sports fans can be for their teams (Fly Eagles, Fly!), and for playing the sport themselves (tell us about your sports passion in the comments!). And what if that passion for sport can be harnessed to help others? That’s the question that Santiago Halty is answering, following his own passion of soccer.
His company, Senda Athletics, makes Fair Trade soccer balls, provides fair wages to Senda’s workers, and sells the balls primarily in the United States. Profits go to support nonprofits that use soccer to help young people improve their lives through sports. “We hope to inspire the millions of soccer lovers at home and abroad to explore how to utilize their soccer passion to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” says Halty.
Board member Lisa Mitchell met the Senda team recently and was blown away by their positive energy — and their soccer tricks:
Senda is remarkable not just for their spirited team, but for their commitment to creating a quality product fairly, to fostering community, and to reaching beyond their customers to be a force for good.
While Senda creates professional and youth balls for traditional soccer, a particular passion is street soccer, and bringing the game back to the neighborhood. In addition, they focus on the game as a means of personal expression and building community, rather than as a form of combat or division. The whole “Senda Manifesto” is worth a read, but here’s just one line: “These are the stories of the other heroes of the game: from homeless players who get back on the right path through soccer, to refugees who use the game as their language, to players on power wheelchairs that find independence and courage with a soccer ball near their feet.”
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does — Nelson Mandela