Taylor Ross ’18

Inspired by her love for soccer and the joy it brings her, URI Women’s Soccer team player Taylor Ross, founded the nonprofit Cleats Count. Her intention: to bring joy to disadvantaged children in Ethiopia through “the world’s most beautiful game.”

“I wanted to do something where I can keep soccer in my life, and make others happy in the process,” Taylor said. “Helping out others who are far less fortunate, along with my passion for business, marketing, and philanthropy is the driving force behind my organization.”

After collecting the necessary cleats and donations, Taylor plans to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in April to bring soccer cleats to kids ages 5-18. She reached out to Ordinary Hero, an organization that partners with impoverished communities, empowering ordinary individuals to change the life of a child. She will travel with Ordinary Hero for the grand opening of a soccer field financed by the group. “On top of personally delivering the cleats, we will be painting houses, spending time teaching the kids, and helping to clean in the community.”

URI Women’s Soccer head coach Michael Needham ‘96 has reached out to the coaching staff of each of URI’s Atlantic 10 opponents for donations, and Taylor has  been busy setting up community drop spots for donated cleats—“new or used, studs or turfs.” Each contributor will be identified on the cleats a child receives.

Taylor is working to raise $3,500 online through her GoFundMe page, Cleats Count. “My goal, besides bringing happiness to these children, is to show my peers and anyone who sees what I am doing that we are all capable of giving back and helping others.”

Adapted from The Good 5 Cent Cigar article by Julian Stello