After a rowdy game of soccer, knee-socked kids in Durban, South Africa, collapse on the ground, eager to review the missed passes and game-winning shot. But they’re not just preparing for their next tournament. Part of the WhizzKids United soccer program (whizzkidsunited.org), the players are coached on how to apply the skills they use on the field to prevent HIV. “We use [the sport] as an actual language that kids will understand and respond to,” says Marcus McGilvray, who launched WhizzKids last year. Protecting themselves from HIV (soccer translation: avoiding obstacles) is one of many lessons, as are the need for support systems (teammates) and striving toward dreams (hard-to-score goals). The ultimate goal: keep the kids alive—and kicking.
A South African soccer program takes HIV to the field