Former S.League star Ryuji Sueoka helps poor kids in India

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Ryuji Sueoka

has spent 12 years playing professional football in countries like , and Thailand. But it was while playing in where he thought of an idea to give back to the less fortunate.

So much so that the Yamaguchi native has undergone a cobbling course back home in Japan, so that he can fix broken football boots there and send them over to India where youngsters who could not afford to buy football boots would get these for free.

“When I used to drive through the towns in India and stopped at the traffic lights, there were beggars asking for money,” said Sueoka, who was voted I-League’s Player of the Year in 2011 while playing for Salgaocar, in an interview with

“I thought to myself, ‘What should I be doing?’ This isn’t something you see or experience in Japan.”

“There are a lot of old football boots in Japan,” said Sueoka, who is now a coach with Japanese second division side Ehime FC. “So, I’m fixing them and sending them to children in India – those from poorer background who can’t afford to buy them.

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