Hout Bay United is a small football club in Cape Town, nestled between the expensive wine farms of Constantia and the Atlantic Ocean, that enjoys the quiet support of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
It’s not a rich club by any means, and they play in the third tier of South Africa’s football leagues, but aside from Klopp, they also consider Athletic Bilbao a major influence. What is it about this team that attracts such patronage?
Hout Bay United Football Community (HBUFC) was founded in 2014, with the club borne out of informal football games in the vicinity of the harbour. Initially, there was nothing extraordinary about the project. However, the club took on a more community-centred approach as time passed.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china
“Hout Bay is like a little microcosm of South Africa,” explains Jeremy Elson, the club’s co-founder.
“You’ve got the valley with wealthy middle class. You’ve got the harbour, which is, like, a displaced fishing community, and then Imizamo Yethu, which is a [mostly black] African settlement.”
The amateur club profiles its players and places them in suitable internships at local businesses with a view to full-time employment. HBUFC covers costs for the first month, allowing businesses to hand the players free trials.
They afford this community outreach thanks to the likes of Klopp, who has visited the club during the Premier League offseason more than once, and his agent Marc Kosicke. Their donations to the HBUFC have reached the R1.5 million mark (approx. US$100,000).cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping
Klopp made headlines last year for a £10,000 (approx. R190,000) donation to the Joy is Round initiative run by HBUFC. Nevertheless, the media has dedicated only sporadic attention to his ongoing support of the community club.
The German’s backing — financial and otherwise — has had a significant impact on HBUFC. Elson told ESPN that a 2017 event which Klopp attended raised over R300,000 for the club.
According to Elson, Kosicke found out about the club during his time living in nearby Llandudno, and he and Klopp both grew attached to the project.