Jeb Brovsky in action at a US Major League Soccer match. Telegraph picture
Life is like soccer; both must have goals. To dribble home this point, US midfielder Jeb Brovsky will get up close with 200-odd underprivileged girls of a remote Ranchi village next month as part of his global initiative to bridge social divide through sports.
Twenty-two-year-old Brovsky, who is playing for Montreal Impact in the Major League Soccer, will be in Rukka village of Ormanjhi block from December 9 to 11 during his extensive 18-day India tour.
The founder of Colorado-based Peace Pandemic, a voluntary organisation that harnesses the power of soccer to create opportunities for children worldwide, Brovsky will teach the girls of Rukka one simple rule of life and football: if it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t, kick it till it moves.
Karan Jindal, the operation executive of Libero Sports that has chalked out Brovsky’s India itinerary, said the footballer had evinced keen interest in helping the girl child in Jharkhand.
“He will warm up with the short visit to Ranchi, but the plan is to put India and Jharkhand on Jeb’s schedule every six months. We will meet Jharkhand sports department as well as Tata Steel rural development officials during Jeb’s visit to draw up programmes in the long run,” Jindal said.
In Rukka, Brovsky will work with Yuwa, a social outfit that uses football to challenge gender inequality. It believes team sport is a powerful platform to promote health, education and improved livelihoods among the hardest to reach, most at-risk group in the community, the group that has the least opportunity but is the most important agent for change — young women. Football gives them confidence, a safe social environment and freedom from the confines of home.
Founded in January 2009 with 15 girls of Rukka, Yuwa today has over 200 players in 10 villages of Ormanjhi. “Our girls practise three hours a day, six days a week. Some of them have represented the state in national women’s football. Jeb Brovsky will stay in Rukka for three days and interact with them,” Franz Gastler, the director of Yuwa, said.
The US soccer star is also expected to conduct camps for these underprivileged girls and give them tips on maintaining fitness despite the frugal meal that they can afford.
“Jeb has held such camps in the US and across the globe to connect children, irrespective of their racial, cultural and financial status. His Peace Pandemic aims to put children from different religious, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds in the same field,” Gastler said.
Brovsky, who will be in the country from December 1, will work with Yuwa in Ranchi, Magic Bus in Delhi and International Sports Academy and Trust (ISAT) Football Club in Srinagar. Camps are on the cards in New Delhi, Goa and Kashmir, besides a workshop on power of soccer as a tool for social change for slum children.