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About Grassroot Soccer

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to equip young people with the life-saving information, services, and mentorship they need to live healthier lives.

GRS was founded in 2002 by Dr Tommy Clark and teammates Kirk Friedrich, Ethan Zohn, and Methembe Ndlovu, who witnessed the devastating effects of HIV while playing professional soccer together in Zimbabwe. After watching friends die of AIDS, Tommy and his teammates recognized that soccer — a positive force in the community — could be used to engage adolescents to stop the spread of HIV. In its more than 20-year evolution, GRS has established itself as a game-changer in adolescent health by empowering young people to make educated choices about their most pressing and interconnected health challenges, including HIV/AIDS, mental health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, COVID-19, gender-based violence, and malaria.

GRS’s evidence-based SKILLZ programmes, led by trained local Coaches, incorporate soccer and fun into interactive and dynamic activities about health and wellness that engage young people and break down stigma and cultural barriers.

GRS works with affiliate sites in South Africa and Zambia and has also partnered with organizations in more than 60 countries. With proven results and a consistent focus on research and innovation, GRS programmes have reached more than 18 million young people, building their assets (health knowledge and the confidence to use it), improving their access to high-quality health services, and increasing their adherence to crucial treatments and healthy behaviours.