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Avonworth teen seeking soccer gear donations for ‘The Beautiful Gift’ project

Photo courtesy The Beautiful Gift Twitter account

Lydija Amayo, a senior at Avonworth High School came up with a special name for a project that is very important to her and her family: The Beautiful Gift.

Lydija’s father Jose’s family comes from Cajamarca, Peru — a place she describes as “a beautiful, poor, mountainous, agricultural region.”

As a lifelong soccer player and a volunteer soccer coach, Amayo understands why people throughout the world call soccer “the Beautiful Game.” She also can relate to the many children throughout Cajamarca who love playing the game.

Many kids in her family’s home country of Peru live in poverty.

For them, the basic items — soccer jerseys, soccer balls and cleats — are out of reach.

For Lydija’s project, she is hoping to collect donated soccer gear that she can bring to the kids at at Cristo Rey Maristas, the school where her uncle Juanaso is a physical education teacher.  Lydija and her family will be visiting Cajamarca in February.

You can listen to our interview with Lydija at the beginning of the latest edition of the Kids on the Pitch podcast:

Here’s how you can help: 

If you are interested in collecting at your business or in your neighborhood, reach out to Lydija, Meghan, and Jose Amayo at

You can also get in touch with Lydija via the Beautiful Gift Facebook page and Twitter account.

Follow these social media accounts to learn about donation drop-off locations that will be set up around the North Hills in the coming weeks.

Here’s what they need: 

  • Indoor/turf soccer shoes (fulbito is an extremely popular futsal-like game played on concrete courts all over South America)
  • Soccer balls (all sizes and colors)
  • Jerseys, shorts, socks (all sizes and colors)
  • Cleats, shin guards, keeper gloves (all these are luxury items in Peru)

These donated items can be new or used. All are accepted, even items that have a hole or are a little worn (“as long as it is not being held together with duct tape,” we’re told).

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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