2019 – Johanna Omolo (Kenya)
Johanna Omolo supports poor children Dandora, Kenya. His foundation helps up to 80 kids with school fees or supplies, and distributes sanitary pads to 200 girls so they can continue going to school during menstruation. The national team player also arranges a football tournament and education programs during school breaks.
2018 – Awer Mabil (Australia)
Awer Mabil is trying to improve the lives of people in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where he lived until he migrated to Australia. Now, he is an Australian national team player. He runs his own charity which supplies children with boots and football gear, and supports them with education and healthcare.
2017 – Mihai Nesu (Romania)
Former national team player Mihai Nesu built a recovery centre for disabled children. Nesu, who is partially paralysed due to a training accident, is offering special therapy to approximately 60 children in Romania.
2016 – Haley Carter (USA)
Haley Carter raised awareness and financial support for the Afghan women’s national team. With this project she aimed to promote the inclusion of women in Afghanistan’s society. She was also the assistant coach of the team.
2015 – Kei Kamara and Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone)
Kei Kamara and Michael Lahoud worked for Schools for Salone, a charity which builds primary schools in their native country. Both men are former refugees and were playing professionally in the United States and for the Sierra Leone national team. They used the USD 25,000 from the Merit Award to build a school.
2014 – Héctor Santibanez
Former Chilean player Hector Santibanez started a football school for children with Down syndrome. He received help from many other players. His school is helping students between 15 and 23 years.
2013 – Stiliyan Petrov (Bulgaria)
Through his foundation, Stiliyan Petrov supported families of people who are diagnosed with leukaemia, as well as research into this and other serious diseases. To raise funds, he organized charity matches. The former national team player launched his foundation after being diagnosed with leukaemia himself.
2012 – Japanese Pro-Footballers Association
The Japanese professional footballers’ association (JPFA) were honoured because of the charity work for the victims of the 2011 tsunami in their country. The JPFA organized auctions, school visits and a charity match to raise funds to support people in north-eastern Japan.
2011 – Peres Center for Peace (Israel)
The Peres Center for Peace, named after former president Shimon Peres, received the Merit Award for its Twinned Peace Sport Schools project, which annually engages 1,500 to 2,000 children from communities in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The centre promotes peace building between Israelis and Palestinians.
2010 – Steven Bryce and Reynaldo Parks (Costa Rica)
Steven Bryce and Reynaldo Parks launched a project to help children and adolescents in deprived neighbourhoods. Through football, they aimed to make children responsible community members, by informing them about the importance of education and life values, and the risks of crime and drug abuse.
2009 – Shabani Nonda (DR Congo)
Shabani Nonda’s foundation organised annual football tournaments for 350 poor children in Kinshasa. The former national team player also paid for school supplies and school fees. He also organised a Match for Peace (featuring other DR Congo players) and donated the gate receipts to victims of violence.
2008 – Ibrahim Kargbo (Sierra Leone)
Ibrahim Kargbo received the award for being an ambassador of the Care Foundation in Sierra Leone, his native country. The organisation helps improve people’s lives in local communities, more in particular the wellbeing of girls and women.