Oakland to UK Soccer Experience

$9,515 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 38 people in 3 months
Help the Oakland Leopards Soccer Teams Go to London!

The Backstory
It started as a favor over 16 years ago, when I agreed to coach my twelve year old neighbor’s soccer team. Little did I know that coaching the Oakland Leopards would eventually become my full-time volunteer career.  Over the years, the original team evolved as the players grew up, I started new teams including a men’s team, and my commitment to serving the incredible youth of Oakland deepened. I’ve devoted countless days, nights and weekends, and many thousands of dollars, trying to make a difference for my players by providing a safe and welcoming environment for these boys to play soccer and supporting the players to find productive pathways in a community that is better known for wide-spread poverty and crime.


Why London?
I was inspired by traveling to Europe last summer with my family and started talking with my teams about playing soccer abroad.  I asked them, “If you could play soccer anywhere in the world, where would it be?”  The unanimous answer:  the UK.

The Trip
The Oakland Leopards under 19 boys and men’s teams will go to the UK from July 2 - 10 for matches with three UK teams. This will be a first trip to Europe for most of the players, especially the under 19s.  Some haven’t been on a plane before. It will be a life changing experience for them.

The Need
I need your help! My players have been hustling and sacrificing- working extra jobs, saving money and fundraising for the trip.  But, given the financial realities that my players and their families face, we still have a gap of $9,000 out of $45,000 needed for the trip. And, there’s no going back- I’ve committed to plane tickets, paid for the youth hostel and purchased transportation cards.

The Ask
Over the next 30 days, I’m looking for donations of any amount to cover the remaining $9,000.   Please spread the word by sharing on social media!

I care about these kids so much! I would be grateful for any support you can provide to help them see London.

The Details
Who’s Going?  
30 players (fifteen under 19 boys and fifteen men’s team players) and 5 chaperones

How Much Does It Cost?
$1300 estimated per person (not including meals)

What’s the Cost Breakout?
$900 Flight from Oakland to London Gatwick leaving July 2 and returning July 10, 2018
$225 Youth Hostel for seven nights at Palmer’s Lodge Hillspring  
$30 Bus transportation to and from the airport
$65 Oyster Card for the Tube and overground in London
$75 Transportation to get players to our 3 games
$5 Insurance policy

Thank you,
Edward Stephen


Leopards on Facebook 

Javi individual gofundme page
(Javi shares his thoughts about what this trip means to him; funds raised through the Oakland Leopards gofundme page will support Javi along with his teammates)
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Our tour of English football just finished and was a huge success. The level of football was very competitive with us winning or losing by one goal, or drawing. The style of football was very physical with lots of tall muscular opponents attempting to crash the goal on headers. Most important is that the players were able to travel internationally, many for the first time, and to experience a different culture. And England was playing in the World Cup!

This tour was a life long dream of mine. Now that everyone is back safe and sound, I can reflect on the experience and know that it was all worth it.

Without your support, this trip simply wouldn’t have happened. I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for donating and to share some words of thanks directly from my players:

“Thank you to the people who helped fundraise for the London trip. Words can’t explain my gratitude. You took a chance on kids who most people will not even look to help just from their appearance, ethnicity, reputation of their community, etc. Never in a million years would these kids envision traveling to another country to play ball like we did last week. I am 100% sure the players will never forget what you did for them. Please extend my appreciation to those who helped make this trip happen.”
– Prince Bere, men’s team

“Thank you for the people who made this possible and thank you for the opportunity to play against teams and to be able to learn new things about football life.”
– Moises Hernandez, U19 team

“It was a great experience going to London and playing. The play style was very physical and a lot faster forcing us to making quicker choices in the games. I had a great time and I’m glad I was able to share this experience.”
– Tony Huerta, U19 team

You’ve made more of a difference than you’ll ever know.

With gratitude,
Coach Edward Stephen
+ Read More
Thank you to everyone who has supported our trip so far! We've raised over $9,500, leaving about $2,500 to get to our goal. We are so appreciative of all your support and continued contributions. Please help us reach our goal!
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Exciting news! The video of my journey to become a better coach has just been published. I observed trainings and asked questions of different level clubs around the world. I got to visit non league team Biggleswade United in the UK, pro team Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia and the Serbian National football team in Belgrade.

We are closing in on our goal to help our U19 and mens players take a team trip to play in the UK, but we still have a gap to close. Thank you everyone for your help and support. Please feel free to share this gofundme campaign
Coach Edward travels to improve coaching
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Huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this cause. My players and I are so grateful for the support! As we get closer to paying for plane tickets on May 1st, our funding gap has increased and we're looking to raise another $4,660 to get our two teams to London. Thank you for helping us get there! Will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players.
+ Read More
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$9,515 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 38 people in 3 months
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