Stammler shows the good side of football

Talking point
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The Independent Football

This week I was member of a judging panel that chose the short-list for the "Player in the Community" category in the Football League Awards.

There were many worthy entries underlining that, while some footballers make headlines for the wrong reasons others are making valuable contributions to society, and doing it because they want to, not because the club tells them to. The quality of the short-list is such that the winner, who will be revealed on 14th March, will deserve the recognition.

However, it is fair to say none matched the initiative and commitment shown by Seth Stammler, whose Sporting Chance Foundation featured in this column last month. The Ohian, who plays for New York Red Bulls in the MLS, founded a charity dedicated to providing clean water and educational opportunity to a poor community in the then little-reported Caribbean island of Haiti.

As the world knows, Haiti has since been hit by a terrible tragedy. After several days seeking to establish contact Stammler was relieved to hear the charity's water well, which had only been in situ a few months, had survived the earthquake, as had colleagues, but one of the schools with sponsored pupils had collapsed and many of the children are yet to be located.

As well as seeking to find them Stammler said the charity is aiming to set up a tented school offering counselling as well as lessons, run a "food for work" programme to help rebuild the capital and provide people with a sense of purpose, and assistance to a partner charity housing homeless families. Meanwhile the well is providing free, clean water, to thousands of people a day.