I thought people might be interested in reading some of Eric's letters that he posts on the family website, they give you an idea of the situation he is facing and how he sees this ball drive helping out with the American military efforts.
This letter is from March 18th, when we first really launched the ball drive:
"All, I've recieved word that we are officially approved on the soccer project. So let it rip on the news and projects; you have full permission to use my pictures and words (please edit accordingly to reduce errors).
It is approved as a project and even official US Gov funds will be channeled into it, pending approval from local community counsel officials and support of the people. But that's almost a given, at worst we may have to limit the number of teams fielded. This may turn into a large project - they're talking about building all new fields in the local community.
Given this, please remember that the soccer ball goal in #'s is important and can be the focus of the drive, but we need EVERYTHING needed to play soccer - balls, shoes (cleats), socks, shorts, jerseys, coach and referee shirts, whistles, goal nets, goalee gloves - just to name a few, and anything else you can possibly think of. Now of course we don't expect to recieve all this stuff brand new - we want everyone's old stuff that is sitting in their garage like old cleats and jerseys, old balls and gloves, etc. I think the BEST source to find such items will be local and regional soccer leagues - most of these organizations purchase new field equipment on a seasonal basis, and we could use things like goal nets and league soccer balls. And the players are always buying new shoes and gear - give your old stuff to Iraqis!
I will look around locally and talk to the guys here about possibly getting some return incentive for those who donate - maybe some small Iraqi flags, or hats that say Iraqi soccer league with the flag or something to that effect."
More letters from Eric in future postings.