Leo Gibson can close his eyes and see the smiles on the faces of children who benefit from his Kick for Christ charity that brings shoes and soccer gear to them in his homeland of Liberia.
“Their reaction is priceless,” said Gibson, the career leading scorer on the Kansas City Comets. “I can’t describe the feeling I have when I see them. We load up a 24-seat bus and have the gear on board and along the way, we might see some youngsters playing soccer.
“They have no shoes, with rags on their feet, and are playing with a beat up ball and we stop and give them shoes and a new ball and they are so surprised. Usually we go to a village and and give the shoes and soccer gear to an entire village – but we get as much joy when we just stop and give the gear children playing in a field along the road.
“Man, it is beautiful.”
Gibson collects a 40-foot long storage container full of gear and takes it to his native country once a year. To help support that trip, he raises money through an annual golf tournament.
The fourth annual Teeing Up for Christ, sponsored by Leo Gibson and Friends, is at noon Oct. 1 at Tiffany Greens Golf Club in Kansas City North. It will feature a shotgun start, silent auction and members of the Comets, Chiefs, Royals and Mavericks.
“Clothing, especially shoes – which are so important – are hard for people, especially the young people, in Liberia to come by,” said Gibson, an original member of the Comets who now makes his year-round home in Kansas City. “I have been so blessed. I have an amazing life in Kansas City and I want to give back – to people in my homeland and to the people in Kansas City.”
Gibson also hosts several local soccer camps for churches at no cost – or just enough cost to cover expenses.
“The people in Kansas City have been so wonderful to support Kick for Christ and my Teeing Up for Kids golf tournament and I want to thank them – thank them from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “And I want everyone to know that 100 percent of the funds we raise go directly to our charity to help clothe and put shoes on the feet of youngsters in Liberia.”