Model & Strategy

Grassroot Soccer understands the broad, cross-cultural appeal of soccer and uses it to educate young people in HIV/AIDS prevention. Professional players, coaches and youth players are trained as role models to teach a curriculum about the risks of HIV and choices in healthy behavior. Through the popularity of soccer, the staff delivers an interactive program that merges games and drills with health education in an engaging, effective way. Not only does this successfully break down barriers around a difficult subject to approach, but moreover, critical conversations about HIV and wellness are impacting behavior and saving lives among youth and in communities across Africa. Grassroot Soccer envisions a world mobilized through soccer to create an AIDS-free generation.

At a Glance
Founded: 2002
Founder & CEO: Tommy Clark
Health
Location of work: International, Africa
Grassroot Soccer
Norwich, VT
Educate. Inspire. Mobilize. Stop the spread of HIV.
Meet Tommy Clark

Grassroot Soccer grew out of three powerful forces in the life of Grassroot Soccer Executive Director Dr. Thomas Clark: his love and concern for Africa, his training as a physician and the game of soccer.  Tommy spent part of his childhood in Zimbabwe, a country where life expectancy has dropped to 30 years of age, and later returned to play professional soccer for The Bulawayo Highlanders. He witnessed first-hand the devastating impact that AIDS was having in Africa, while also experiencing the power that soccer had to engage people across the continent. Young people, in particular, looked to soccer players as role models, even heroes.

In 2005 Tommy was a Research Fellow at University of California at San Francisco focusing on implementation and evaluation techniques for Grassroot Soccer. He has received numerous awards including All-American honors as a soccer player, two-time Resident Teacher of the Year at the University of New Mexico, and the Annie Dyson Child Advocacy Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2005, Tommy was the recipient of a Social Justice Award from Dartmouth College, and, in 2007, Tommy received the Peace Abbey’s Courage of Conscience Award.

IMPACT

Over two and a half million youth in nearly 50 countries have graduated from GRS’s adolescent health program.

Research demonstrates that GRS graduates are four times more likely to test for HIV and know their status, five times less likely to report early sexual debut, and eight times less likely to have had more than one sexual partner.

A 2016 impact study demonstrated noteworthy increases in the percentage of adolescent female participants who do not justify violence against women and marked improvements in participants’ ability to disclose and have discussions around relationships and violence.

Research demonstrates a 50% increase in knowledge of critical sexual health services among GRS participants.

  • We’re proud to work alongside @AFCCT through the MINDSET initiative, which breaks down stigma around mental health… https://t.co/ZzB31DGPY4
  • What better day than National Girls and Women in Sports Day to shout out our 2022 GRS Game-Changer Award winners,… https://t.co/f7G0OLC07s
  • RT @AFCCT: 🔴 @KellandsPS were delighted to welcome @AberdeenFC player, Ross McCrorie along to our Mindset programme. Community Coach, Ste…
  • RT @sportanddev: 📍Job alert! @GrassrootSoccer is looking for a Digital Communications Senior Coordinator/Manager to drive a range of commun…
  • Check it out: the first 2023 edition of "Notes from the Pitch," the Grassroot Soccer newsletter, is out now! This… https://t.co/w2hDMha9RI
  • "Grassroot Soccer gave me the power to express myself...To be fearless. To go out in my community and shine and ris… https://t.co/BvTOPDQ6xI
  • 20 years ago, Grassroot Soccer was bold enough to try something new: leverage the power of soccer to help engage ki… https://t.co/FyMWUu9Q2e
  • RT @GrassrootSoccer: Our Eighth Annual #GRSGala brought the Grassroot Soccer (GRS) community together to celebrate our 20 years of impact o…
  • Our Eighth Annual #GRSGala brought the Grassroot Soccer (GRS) community together to celebrate our 20 years of impac… https://t.co/xiriVgOoFh
  • RT @m2mtweets: Together @GRSSouthAfrica & @m2mtweets are using the power of soccer to equip orphans & vulnerable youth in Mpumalanga, South…
  • RT @m2mtweets: Over the last 5 years @m2mtweets & @GRSSouthAfrica have partnered to deliver this joint impact—reaching over 48 000 in- and…
  • RT @m2mtweets: Using soccer metaphors, & activities, together @m2mtweets & @GRSSouthAfrica are addressing drivers of school drop-outs, #HIV
  • ICYMI: In the lead up to the World Cup's thrilling conclusion, @BillGates recognized Grassroot Soccer's work "using… https://t.co/MQQbIDCFpJ
  • RT @GrassrootSoccer: JOB: Grassroot Soccer is looking for a Digital Communications Senior Coordinator/Manager! This remote role will be re…
  • Among a newfound community of peers with Grassroot Soccer, 18-year-old Daniel learned that HIV was not the end of l… https://t.co/07UD7AtgRK
  • From @nytimes: 2.4 million children and adolescents in sub-Saharan are living with HIV/AIDS, but just over half h… https://t.co/oQGnpkpwmJ
  • RT @yedinaija: All good things must come to an end, but the knowledge gained during the "Training of trainers" training will last a lifetim…