Bosiljevac goes extra mile to help those in need

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August 21st, 2013

Monica Bosiljevac is one of the founding members of Football for the World. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

Monica Bosiljevac is one of the founding members of Football for the World. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

Omaha, NE – Monica Bosiljevac is always moving. Whether it is in the classroom or on the soccer pitch, the senior forward is continually striving toward a larger goal.

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Though it hasn’t always gone her way, Bosiljevac has ended the last two years with season-ending injuries. She broke her leg sophomore year and tore a ligament in her knee 10 games into her junior year. But she isn’t the type of person to sit and sulk. While rehabbing her knee, Bosiljevac studied abroad in Botswana during the 2012 spring semester. She also traveled to Tanzania where she volunteered as a teacher and soccer coach.

“It really just fit perfectly with me,” Bosiljevac said. “Because I was working with street kids, people who had run away from their families or just gotten separated and it used football or soccer to kind of get these kids out get them active and then eventually reintegrate them with their families.”

It was this experience that struck a chord with her. She felt compelled to do something after meeting Alikhan Popat, founder and president of Football for the World Foundation (FFTW).

Football for the World is a non-profit organization providing new and used soccer equipment to disadvantaged children around the world. Bosiljevac and her teammates had plenty of used equipment to donate including: cleats, soccer balls, shin guards, backpacks and sports bras.

“So we will go to different countries and set up with schools there and local club teams there and host these donation runs for all these kids that are underprivileged and don’t have access to the basic necessities like having even a football to play with, or cleats,” she said. “And in some parts of the world they may not even have enough nutrition or water and things like that. So we’re just trying to give these kids the necessities to play the game and use it as an outlet for the rest of their lives.”

As director of communications for FFTW, she said she is always searching for new avenues of exchange.

“For me it is a little more difficult because I am the only one in America, let alone in Nebraska,” Bosiljevac said. “I’ve just kind of been going through my different channels or using even my own money to be like this is going to be worth it.”

FFTW has gone into five different countries and helped more than 1,500 children around the world. Bosiljevac said the charity has grown exponentially over the past year, and she wants to see the organization establish more soccer academies around the world. Watching the group grow from an idea between a few friends to developing into a community of volunteers has Bosiljevac excited about the future.

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