Obama shows off his 'Soccket' moves
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
July 2nd, 2013
08:58 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama shows off his 'Soccket' moves

Updated 9:08 a.m ET, 7/2

(CNN) - President Barack Obama couldn't leave Africa without kicking a soccer ball around.

Traveling with President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania on Tuesday, Obama toured the Umbungo Symbion Power Plant, where they saw a demonstration of the power-generating "Soccket" ball.

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The soccer ball uses the kinetic energy from play to provide a source of renewable, off-grid power. It was invented by Unchartered Play co-founder Jessica Matthews, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the United States, Julia Silverman when the two were students at Harvard College.

As Matthews explained how it works, Obama took a white Soccket ball, which has a plug on it for a power cord, and dropped it to his feet to kick it back up to his hands. Prodded by some cameraman that he can do better than that, the president then tossed it higher and head-butted the ball to himself, according to press pool reports.

Obama walked over to the media to explain what he learned about the ball.

"There is a mechanism inside so that the kinetic energy, when you kick the ball, creates a battery. So now you can power this," Obama said.

With a cable, he connected the ball to a cell phone.

"You can play with this for two hours and now you've got half an hour's worth of, an hour's worth–," Obama said, before someone familiar with the technology interjected.

"Thirty minutes of play, several hours of battery," Matthews said.

Later in a speech, the president said he thought the ball was "pretty cool."

"The Soccket turns one of the most popular games in Africa into a source of electricity and progress. You can imagine this in villages all across the continent," he said.

The president concludes his three-country trip to Africa when he departs later Tuesday to return to the U.S.

Filed under: Africa • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    What awesome technology.

    July 2, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Love my President.

    July 2, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Kevin in Atlanta

    Wow, Soccket ball? That's a really awesome idea. As much as soccer is played in that country, remote villages can power themselves for a long time. Awesome!

    July 2, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yeah, the Soccket ball is cool too! lol!

    July 2, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. JM

    Obama sure likes Playing ball,, I think he missed his calling

    July 2, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Someone needs to invent something to attach to the lower jawbone of some conservatives in this country so that we solve the energy crisis. With the way traffic is around NYC, I vent a lot at other drivers. If I had one, I could power an electric car!

    July 2, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. just sayin

    it is about time he used his head for something....

    July 2, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Data Driven

    Just another cool piece of high-tech we won't see here because Legacy Energy has the politicians lined up in a row in its metaphorical suit-jacket pocket like Maduro cigars.

    July 2, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. JT

    Don't get me wrong, it's cool, but it's not something you'd really ever use unless you were in the 3rd world and cut off from the grid. I think the general idea will take off more in the future. Sooner or later you might be able to simply capture the kinetic energy from walking.

    July 2, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. California Gary

    Obama really represents us well on the world stage. That he is not afraid to show his human side and do things like this to relate to the people of the country he is visiting is a bonus. I used to cringe when our last POTUS went out on the world stage........not so with this one.

    July 2, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Donald

    Like the Segway, interesting, maybe cool, but useful, practical? No. Just more green energy rubbish that has no practical use.

    July 2, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Sheila

    probably will go the way of the pet rock

    July 2, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Donkey Party

    Donald – "Green energy rubbish"? Sunrises and sunsets must look interesting on your flat Earth, yes?

    July 2, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. it must be said

    California Gary
    Obama really represents us well on the world stage

    Yeah, Putin and the Chinese enjoy making a fool of him on a regular basis. Great representation there.

    July 2, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. just askin

    so how much energy in terms of oil, gas and electricity does it take to make one of these? my guess is much more than it will ever generate before being cast aside as totally useless.

    July 2, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. California Gary

    @it must be said..........I can cite a number of times that our previous POTUS embarrassed us on the world stage. Can you tell us what you are referring to when you say our current POTUS has been made a fool of by the Chinese and Putin?

    July 2, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. California Gary

    @it must be said........I don't believe anyone from one of our "allies" has thrown a shoe at Obama.......

    July 2, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |