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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Journey to Ghana

We left for Ghana on December 19th (the morning after my oldest daughter, Mikaelyn, was married and the day my other daughter, Marissa, turned 17.)

The day before our departure to Ghana.  The girls with Mikaelyn and their mother.
We flew over 9,000 miles via Houston, then London, then Lisbon, Portugal, then finally into Accra, Ghana.  We left the house at 9AM on Wednesday--fully loaded with supplies and gifts--and arrived to our hotel in Ghana at around 4PM Thursday (11PM in Ghana) for a grand total of over 30 hours of traveling.  All bags, and people, accounted for!

We each had 2 checked bags of gifts and a one carry-on with our clothes.
Before take-off in Houston bound for London on the red-eye.
The plane that carried us from London to Lisbon.  We landed after our scheduled departure to Ghana.
Thankfully, they held the plane for us (and 20 other passengers) so we stayed on schedule...mostly.
The red carpet and Christmas decorations that greeted us at the airport in Accra.

Digging Out

We have been home from Ghana for over 48 hours now and I am finally ready to share.  It feels like it's been much longer than that but my heart and mind have been a jumbled mess of emotions, exhaustion, gratitude, and perspective and I wanted things to calm down a bit before writing.  I apologize for the delay to the many supporters we have earned over the months and months of this effort and am excited to share with you the final chapters of Save-a-Thon For Africa for 2012.

As you likely know, Save-A-Thon For Africa was all about me keeping a promise to a young boy growing up in a very poor village in Africa.  Nine months ago I promised him that I would bring him and his friends soccer balls to play with and break up the monotony of the difficult lives they lead there.  I was able to engage my soccer player daughter, Kylie, to use her skills and love for soccer to help raise thousands of dollars to travel there and personally deliver the balls, school supplies for the girls, and a Christmas meal for about 300 children in this boy's village.

This picture of my two daughters and this young boy, Borges, sums up the trip as a success but there were so many other blessings along the way.  Stay tuned the next few days to this page for a detailed account of our trip.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quick Update

We have limited wifi at the hotel now but wanted to briefly re-connect with the world outside of Africa and give you a glimpse of the last 48 hours.  All is great here as we head into Christmas Eve.

The girls, and therefore, I, had a terrible night's sleep Friday night.  They slept until about 1AM when I actually fell asleep then stayed up all night giggling and Instagramming (is that a word?!) despite my groaning and occasional snoring.  So despite the horrible night's sleep we were excited to get going for the visit to Borges' village.  The photo below is our VERY full car of 250 meals and 250 bottles of soda (bottles not cans because they like to keep the bottles to play with.)  We literally rode 3.5 hours to the village with large bags of food and gifts on our lap.  Traffic was horrible and it was a less than pleasant drive.

These next two photos are us with Borges.  His smile and gratitude for keeping my promise to him made the discomfort of the ride there, the thousands of dollars it cost to be there, and the sleepless nights made it all worth it!

We had a great time with the village and have lots more pictures to share.

Also, today we went to a smaller village about an hour from here and had an even better experience.  These kids weren't expecting us at all and we were so delighted with their happy response.

More updates as we travel to Lisbon and London in 24 hours then home and get more reliable
internet connection.

Merry Christmas from Ghana!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ghana Update

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So, we arrived about 24 hours ago to Ghana.  Today was recovery day.  After 31 hours of traveling and fitful sleep on four different planes we slept in today until 3PM local time!  We didn't actually fall asleep until 3AM this morning so it wasn't that late but it did feel good (plus that is 8AM Utah time).

We made final logistical preparations with our great host and friend, Eric Peasah, and then bought 240 bottles of soda for the kids and ordered 300 meals of chicken and rice.

Loved being with my girls, Marissa and Kylie, today!  Tomorrow is big day as we visit the village and give the boy who inspired this adventure, Borges, his soccer ball and fulfill my promise to him.

As long as we have wifi we will keep posting pics and comments, etc. Stay tuned.  It's about to get interesting...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Here goes SOMETHING!

Well, we start our 9,000 mile, 30 hour journey to Ghana in less than 8 hours.  We are all very excited for the adventure and the children and people we are going to help.

Thanks to all who have supported us.  It is not too late to help us help others have Christmas this year in a very remote and poor part of the world.  Still need to raise about $2,000 and every little bit counts!

Visit this ink to donate:

Stay tuned to this page to experience our journey in the coming days.

May God bless you to have a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Promise To Keep

In case you missed the Chalk Talk 4 Charity I am posting a video slideshow of the beautiful children of Ghana set to a hugely inspirational song called "World" sung by Five For Fighting.  I love the words: "History starts now."  What my daughters and I will do in one short week, with the support of many generous donors, may seem small but what excites me is to think that this small effort may, probably will, inspire at least one of these kids to change the course of their life and rise above the cycle of poverty.  Through their efforts, supported by our action now, TODAY, change will happen.  History will be made.  It's up to us to act.  We are still more than $2,000 short of our goal to raise badly needed funds to help them.

Every little bit helps.  Thanks for watching.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Final Push! Video


So in an epic moment of clarity today I captured my feelings in a video message.  My wife, and agent if I had one, would not be happy with the fact that I am unshaven and looking exhausted in my tornado of an office.  But at least it's from the heart and genuine.  Please watch and then act!

We leave in one week and we are on the verge of doing something great with your help.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chalk Talk Recap

Thursday night's Chalk Talk For Charity was a success!  The Aggies were tremendous and we all had a great time.

I know there were some (perhaps many) who wanted to come but just couldn't make it (holiday parties, school night, Thursday Night Football, etc.).  You missed a great night but the good news is that since we did fall short of our fundraising goal there is still time to support us.  We are determined to keep pushing until the end to raise whatever additional funds we can to feed these children and make their Christmas special and fulfilling.  You can donate easily by clicking the button above.

Here is a recap of the evening:
Kylie with the Aggies
We raised funds by selling soccer balls, reminder bands, school kits, and T-shirts that guests could sign and give to a specific child that Kylie meets in the villages.  We will then take a picture of that child holding their gift in the village and send to the donor upon our return.  Guests loved the idea of being able to see the tangible results of their gift

Items for sale to raise funds for Africa. Balls, T-Shirts, PeopleWater, School kits.

Papa Rick preparing delicious Swedish pancakes for guests.
The Aggies Soccer Team generously donated some gear that was auctioned off, including the best prize, an autographed NCAA ball used in the first round NCAA Tournament game against BYU.  This raised additional funds for our effort.

The Silent Auction table.
The highlight of the night was nearly an hour of back and forth questions and answers by the five Aggies players who willingly donated their time to share with the audience their thoughts and experiences in soccer and life.  The ladies were fantastic and shared great stories about their soccer experiences including throwing up in a garbage can during a state cup game, whiffing a shot or two, nerves playing games, multiple yellow cards, a red card here and there, and the benefits of the PB&J sandwich to fuel themselves on game day.  They also talked about the importance of academics as a student athlete.

The Aggies waiting for the next question of the fireside chat.

They offered great advice to the younger players in the audience how to direct their own soccer career and what things they can do now to make a Division 1 school soccer team.  They shared tips on how to fuel for a game, to be confident in themselves, to be coachable, and to not be shy about approaching colleges early and often they want to play for.

My wife, Wendy, I think beautifully summed up the audience's thoughts about these great ladies.  She said: "I just want to thank you girls for being here and for sharing your thoughts tonight.  I am really impressed.  You are beautiful, articulate, good people.  I am so happy that my daughter and the other soccer players here have you to look up to."

Totally agree and let me add my thanks to these tremendous women: Natalie Norris, Ashlyn Mulford, Lauren Roundy, Maris Hamblin, and Kendra Peemberton.  Also, a big thanks to Coach Heather Cairns for her great support of the project and the evening.

Big smiles after the chalk talk.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

48 Hours Until Chalk Talk 4 Charity!

We are excited to be just about 48 hours away from the Chalk Talk 4 Charity.  The women from the Aggies Soccer Team have been so great to be willing to come and spend time with us and support Save-A-Thon.  Please come see them!!


If you haven't registered please do so now.  It's FREE and take about 45 seconds.



If you can't make it but want to support me you can donate online or send a check to Bridges To America, Inc. at the following address:

180 S 700 E
Hyde Park, UT 84318

Donate online here:

Hope to see you this Thursday night at 7PM at the Riter Mansion (168 N 100 E, Logan)!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Local Paper Article! Read all about it.

I am grateful for our local paper, The Herald Journal, for doing a front page article on our effort yesterday.  If you didn't see it yet click here.  I am excited to be helping these kids and can't wait to get to Ghana.  I hope you will help me and my family keep raising funds for this big trip in less than 3 weeks.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chalk Talk for Charity Update

One week from tonight in Logan, Utah at the Riter Mansion five players from the WAC Champion Utah State Aggies Women's Soccer Team will share their experiences with the community at a fundraiser to benefit Save-A-Thon For Africa.

We are very excited and grateful that the following ladies will be participating in the Chalk Talk.

Also, please note that the event is now FREE to all.  We would simply encourage you to come with whatever financial donations you can to help us help others in Ghana this Christmas.

Even though it's free we do need you to register so we can plan food, etc. accordingly.  Register here.

See you soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soccer Balls for Ghana!

We bought our first batch of soccer balls today for the children in Ghana we will be visiting in about three weeks!  Here are some pictures.  We still need more funds to pay for my flight and for more food for the village when we celebrate Christmas with them.  Please go here and do what you can.  Thanks!

Al's Sporting Goods sold us these balls at a great price and then deflated them for packing.

We can only take 6 big duffel bags so I had to cram the balls in tight.

That's 30 balls packed with a little extra room.

1 bag down, 5 to go!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chalk Talk 4 Charity with the Aggies Women's Soccer Team!

Click here for more details

We are very happy to announce a special charity fundraiser featuring members of the WAC Champion Utah State Aggies Women's Soccer Team!  Click the link above for more details but the key points are as follows:

When: Thursday, December 6th from 7:00-8:30PM

Where: Riter Mansion, 168 N 100 E, Logan, Utah

What: A fireside chat with members of the Aggies discussing soccer, being your best, and doing good in the world.

Food is included and the event will be lots of fun.  All proceeds from the event go to supporting Save-A-Thon For Africa and our humanitarian trip to Ghana on December 20th.

Check it out and register below.  Hope to see you there!

Click here for more details

Monday, November 19, 2012

People Water Partnership

I am very excited to be doing a partnership with People Water (  We are selling bottled water that is already produced for a great cause (clean water for people in need around the world) to help raise the funds I need for my airfare to deliver Christmas to more than 300 very poor children in Ghana, Africa next month.  People Water is letting me keep a generous portion of the sales for Save-A-thon For Africa.

If you are interested and able to support me the price is $3.00 per 16.9oz bottle and you can simply send an email to my dad with your order ( who will help process the payment and get you your water.  If you live outside of Cache Valley you can still buy the water and we will donate what you buy to the villages we visit.

Thank you VERY much for helping me reach my goal to provide a Christmas miracle for so many kids who literally have nothing this year.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


We lost 3-1 in very disappointing game last night.  This was a team that finished 4th in our league and we have beaten about 9 times.  I think they just wanted it more than we did.

I did make 10 saves in the game and we as team finished in 2nd place in the U14 division.  We should actually be in the U13 division so at least we know that we can play, and beat, girls older than us.

I am sure my team will use this bitter loss to work harder in the winter and be even more ready, more hungry, in the Spring.

Thank you for your support!

Support my effort by donating here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Semi Final Playoff Result

We played in the semi-finals of our league tournament last Wednesday night against a team we know well, Cool Green.  We won 1-0 but definitely didn't win the game we basically survived. I made 5 saves in the game and as my coach says, even though we didn't play to our potential "a win is a win."

Tonight we play for the championship of our league and I hope to make lots of saves that will help my team win our league and help these children I am excited to see in Ghana this December.

Thanks for your support!  Support my effort by donating here.

A sunny autumn day for our semi-final game.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend Game Recap

Support my effort by donating here.

Starting last Friday night we played three games in less than 24 hours.  Here is my recap:

Frida, 5:30PM. Game against All-Stars. Won 4-3.

This was the last game of our regular season.  This team was in sixth place and we were in second so they wanted to beat us pretty bad.  It was a back and forth game until we came back to go ahead 4-2.  Their offense was aggressive and our defense was not as organized as usual so the game was closer than it should have been.

On one play their striker broke away and came at me.  I do what I do and went to challenge her.  I ended up taking the ball from her before she could shoot but then she had to jump over me.  Well, she didn't jump high enough and her cleat hit my head behind my ear.  The good news is that I didn't get a concussion but I was a little dazed so my coach took me out.  I sat out for about 10 minutes and then was ready to go back in.  So I did.  I didn't let my injury affect me and actually had a few more balls come at me that I went after and took away.

They did score one more goal at the very end of the game but we ended up winning 4-3 and I had 9 saves.  We ended up the season in 2nd place.

Saturday, 10AM. Friendly game against Pocatello United in Pocatello, Idaho. 32 degrees!

Yes!  That is ice coming off the ball, or my foot, or both!
In order to get more challenging matches for us our coach arranged three Saturdays this season when we play against some teams from Pocatello.  This time it was our turn to travel there and it was COLD! The first team we played actually beat us 6-2 one month earlier so we were ready for some revenge.  The game was more like hockey as the grass was icy and the ball was slow.  We were down 1-0 at the half but then came back to tie them and then went ahead 2-1 to win the game!  I had 6 saves and was proud of my team, especially my good friend, Marissa, who made one of the goals and assisted on the other.

"Refreshing" dive into the field of ice.  See the icicles on the crossbar of the goal?  COLD!

We went to lunch, warmed up and rested in the car for an hour or so until our next game.

 Saturday, 2:30PM. Friendly game against Pocatello United in Pocatello, Idaho. Warmer!

So, this was the best team here and the girls were 13 and big.  This was a good team!  But my team rose to the occasion and we played hard.  I made 8 saves and most of them involved contact with the other team.  It was funny but they complained that our team was being too physical even though they were older and bigger.  I think we got to them a bit but they went up 2-0 before we came up with a goal.  We simply ran out of time and lost 2-1.  But we played really well and it was great experience.  We look forward to playing them again in two weeks so hopefully we can beat them.

One of my saves--challenged by the same striker that came at me all day.

One of many bumps she and I had that day.

This was the winning goal that I just barely missed getting to.  Next time!

So, now we play this Wednesday in our season championship play.  If we win then we play against the #1 team next week.  We are excited to play and I am excited to make more saves and do good for these children we will visit in Ghana in just two months!

Thank you for your support!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Catching Up

The season has gone by really fast but we are heading into the championships in 2nd place. We have one game left on Friday and then two games in Pocatello, Idaho that were arranged by the coaches. I have kind of been slacking about Save-a-Thon. But, we are not done. So far, we have raised about $900. That isn't quite enough for the trip that is quickly coming in December. Please keep pledging! Thanks so much for everyone's support. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Strikers Cup Summary

Well it turns out that Tsunami needed more help in the mid-field than in the goal so for the next 3 games I only played in the field.  Sooooo, I didn't make any saves.  But I loved playing in the field anyway.

The good news is that my regular Fall season starts next week.  Please make your pledges and I will be back with more updates soon!

Thanks so much.

By the way, we only have about 3 months before heading to Ghana to realize our goal of helping these very poor children.  Please don't wait to pledge.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Striker's Cup Game 1 Recap

It's different playing for a team only once in a while and it showed during this game.  Especially with the communication between me and my defense.  We lost 4-1.  I did make 8 saves but need to play better my next game. 

I do like how the goalie jersey they loaned me matches my shoes. :-)

Another game tonight and two more tomorrow.  Hopefully with better results.

Please pledge anything to help these kids with nothing in Africa this Christmas.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Next Tournament: Strikers Cup August 14-18

I will be playing as a guest player for my second favorite soccer team in Utah, Tsunami, next week in Layton.  We have four games at least and I will be tracking my stay tuned!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cache Cup Summary

This was a tough, hot tournament with our first loss in almost a year.  The competition was harder than the regular season as I had to make 28 saves in just three games.

The good news is we raised nearly $400 for these kids in Ghana.

Thank YOU all so much for your support!!  Please share this website with your friends.

We have the Park City Tournament and we will do this again!  Stay tuned.

Go Lynx!

Game 3 Recap

So, after our crushing loss Thursday we played an early morning game Friday and got our revenge.  I didn't play my best on the first half as the fields were wet and the ball bounced funny but the 2nd half I felt more comfortable and my team played great.  We won 4-2!

Check out these pictures below.

My face shows how determined I was to make up for the last game.

Again! Matching shoes and ball! ;-)

One of my tougher saves of the tournament.

I was ready to punch out this free kick but thankfully it cleared the crossbar.

Game 2 Recap

First loss in 11 months and it was a real bummer! 6-1 after being tied 1-1 at the start of the 2nd half.  It was 100 degrees and after a bad no-call on a hands ball that resulted in the other team going up 2-1 my team sort of deflated and the other team got more energized.

I was VERY busy and made 11 saves.  I wish I was less busy but the other team came at us hard.  Check out the pictures below.

UPDATE:  This team in Blue ended up playing in the Championship which they lost despite some of the most reckless soccer played by them that I have ever seen.  Literally put two girls, including the goalie, in ambulances! Glad we avoided that kind of injury in our game but it gives you a sense of just how tough it was to beat them.

Yes, that's me saving this goal behind this hard-charging striker! Didn't hurt though.

Going for one of my 11 saves.

Get this ball out of here!
Another tough save against one of my old teammates.

Can you tell by my face how happy I was with the results of this game??!!

Game 1 Recap

We won 5-1 and I had 8 saves in the game.  It was a great start to the tournament and my team really played well.

One of my 8 saves in this game.

Hey look! My shoes match the ball.

Another save!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cache Cup Starts Today!

Our planned trip to Ghana will be in early December so that we can visit several villages and provide a simple but memorable Christmas for the kids there.  In order to maximize the number of smiles we get when we visit we need to keep raising money to buy the soccer balls and school supplies.

Today starts the Cache Valley Cup, our local tournament.  We have three games scheduled plus the Championship we hope to play in on Saturday.  I am going to do my best to make as many saves as possible and need your support.  Remember, you pledge an amount for every save I make and then make the donation when the tournament is over.  The detailed instructions are on the right of this page.

I have no way to know how many saves I will make but my average during the Spring Season turned out to be 6.  So there is a chance I will make around 25 saves.  Please pledge accordingly.  I will report back after every game and let you know how I am doing.

Thank you for your support!  I love to use my skills at my favorite sport to help make kids happy far away in Africa this Christmas.

Go Lynx!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Utah Summer Games

Tournament season is finally here! On Wednesday, my team will be going down to Cedar City for the Utah Summer Games tournament. I will continue doing the Save-A-Thon throughout our tournaments. I am inviting you to pledge during our summer tournament season. You can pledge for each individual tournament or, for all the tournaments.

I am hoping to go to Africa and help all those kids so please keep pledging! Thanks everyone for their support.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Game 10--Finished

Sorry for the delayed recap report from my last game.  We played the Malad Devils and won 5-0.  I played goalie through the middle of the second half and had 5 saves.  The game was fairly easy but I did have a couple of tough saves so it was fun.

Our team finished 10-0 this season!  In our Fall season we were technically undefeated but we had two ties.  This season was a real undefeated season because we won EVERY game!  That feels good but what feels even better is that we raised $505.00 in pledges from generous people like you.  We still need to raise more so even though this season is over please donate whatever you can.  A little goes a long way to helping these kids.

You can go to my dad's website, to donate online or mail a check to his address.  Be sure to say the money is for Saveathon for Africa.

Stay tuned because I am not going to stop trying to raise money just because my season is over.  We have a tournament coming up next month!

Thank you for your support!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Games 8 and 9 Recap

As expected, we had two tough games last week but we won both!  We are 9-0 with only one last game this Thursday.

Our game against Crush was the best game of the season as we were tied 3-3 at the end of the first half.  I had to make some pretty tough saves and had 6 total.  We ended up making two more goals in about the last 5 minutes of the second half and won the game 5-3.  It felt really good to beat our toughest challenger in our league.

Saturday we played Tsunami and won 3-0.  They were still tough but not as tough as I remember when we played them earlier in the season.  I did make 7 saves but they weren't too difficult.

We are now in the final week of this season and I want to thank everyone who has supported my efforts.  I will update my final total and how much we have raised later this week.