Berkeley-designed soccer ball heads for World Cup

A Berkeley man who has designed a soccer ball he says is indestructible will be taking his new invention to the World Cup competition this week.

Timothy Jahnigen created a ball designed to be played on the dirt and gravel fields of the third world. The ball, made of closed cell foam material, won’t puncture if kicked against a sharp rock, deteriorate in a strong sun, or crack in extreme cold. It can even survive barbed wire and bullets, according to a report on KGO.

Jahnigen’s company is called One World Futbol because Jahnigen wanted to help all the kids in the world who can’t play on manicured grass fields or smooth green artificial turf.

“Those inflatable balls,” Jahnigen told KGO, “were not really meant to survive in… harsh, sharp-edged environments… metal shrapnel and broken glass. Some of these places are not pretty.”


Sting, the singer, and a friend of Jahnigen’s, came up with the name of the company based on his song, One World (Not Three) according to Lisa Tarver, Jahnigen’s wife and the co-founder of the company.  Jahnigen approached Sting for funds after discovering that he had paid for a soccer field in Gaza. Sting believes it is important for kids in war zones and impoverished areas to have places to play.

“Four years ago an inventor-friend of mine named Tim Jahnigen was watching a CNN documentary about children living in war zones,” Sting wrote in a holiday letter that was posted on the Internet. “Tim was so moved by what he saw he got to work developing a ball with ‘indestructible’ – or non-deflatable – properties. What better way, he thought, to help a child of war get through their darkest days – as well as combat the rough terrain a regular ball simply can’t survive.”

Jahnigen leaves this week for South Africa. The official launch for One World Futbol is July 8.