Football on Fertile Ground
Stoddert Nation member travels to Ethiopia and distribute new and gently used soccer equipment

Laura Retlzer recently contacted the club to ask for uniforms and soccer balls to take with her on an upcoming trip to Ethiopia, and had just enough space in her luggage to take a small supply of items – all of which recently found their way into rural in the heart of the Horn of Africa.

“I heard about the trip that the Stein family took and reached out to Stoddert for help,” remarked Retzler when asked about how the idea to carry and distribute soccer gear abroad was first conceived. “Nick Keenan was instrumental in helping me connect with Tom Gross and Doug Homer, both of whom were very receptive and supportive of my idea.”


It didn’t take long for Retzler to receive new and gently used club uniforms and balls from the club’s storage facility just hours before her pending journey to Ethiopia. Now on the ground and entrenched in her work, Retzler has traveled to several orphanages throughout the country and has begun the process of distributing the items to the children at these facilities.

“It is the end of the rainy season in Ethiopia,” said Retlzer in an e-mail. “This afternoon I was able to join a group of kids for a soccer game, thanks in part to the items Stoddert donated. I gave a few balls to 2 different orphanages on Friday. the kids at the second orphanage had just returned when I arrived from a nearby field where they played with a half deflated old ball the rolled no more than three feet when kicked before stopping. Thanks for the fun you helped bring to many kids’ days.”

 To learn more about how you can partner with the club to support children and soccer clubs overseas, please contact Douglas Homer, Stoddert’s Executive Director, at dhomer@stoddert.com.