For every offensive chance Jonathan Mensah takes away from opposing attackers, the Columbus Crew SC defender does ultimately give back, just in a more charitable form.
At the start of preseason, Mensah spoke on the origin and goals of the Jonathan Mensah Foundation and the group’s charitable contributions over the past offseason.
“[The foundation began] when I started playing professionally because I see some kids who really want to play, they have talent but don’t have football shoes,” Mensah said.
From there, it was a fairly straightforward idea, according to Mensah.
“I was fortunate enough to get my parents to provide me with football shoes…so for me to provide, why not?” Mensah said.
For Mensah and his foundation, each mission starts with the same question: “what can my foundation do to help them?”
Following the 2018 season, Mensah worked with special schools in Ghana and surrounding villages to provide funds and services as determined by those in need.
“We are in Ghana now, headed towards outside Ghana, in a couple of villages,” Mensah said. “So my team goes out there, look at what they need, and then we start working and go out there to help. It could be anything from health – so we have some doctors going there to screen them, just some vaccinations, injections and all that – [to providing] them with water and food, so it’s a whole lot we are doing.”
Touching back on the origin of the foundation, Mensah spoke on the trickle-down effect of the seemingly simple act of donating cleats. When he would see kids who wanted to play or had talent, Mensah said that by providing shoes or the money to buy them, they could "also be something for their family and community, so it’s a general thing that I’m doing.”
As Mensah's mission continues, so does the Crew's, as the team returns to preseason action on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. ET against Club Tijuana, with the regular-season home opener scheduled for March 2 at 4:30 p.m. ET against the New York Red Bulls.