OAKLAND, Calif. — The image is still so clear for Tim Jahnigen: a documentary of Darfur refugees playing a makeshift soccer game with their ratty ball of trash and twine.
That scene could be from other poverty-stricken nations across the world, too. Jahnigen envisioned a durable ball that would survive anywhere.
"It's been four or five years ago when I saw the documentary and it just triggered a very emotional response," Jahnigen said. "I hate to see children suffer. All of a sudden when I saw these children kicking rag balls, cans and boxes in the videos, it hit me like a thunderbolt."
And there began the One World Futbol Project.
Jahnigen put his mind to inventing a ball that would never wear out, one he insists is the most durable of any "futbol" out there, made of closed cell foam and similar material to those popular rubber Crocs sandals. It won't go flat or ever need pumping, even remaining playable if punctured