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Brian Asamoah II & Josh Oliver Advocating for Youth in Ghana & Uganda 

MCMC - Asamoah

Vikings teammates Josh Oliver and Brian Asamoah II have plenty of differences and some similarities.

Oliver played high school and college football in California, while Asamoah grew up in Ohio and played collegiately at Oklahoma. At 6-foot-5, Oliver towers on Minnesota's offense; the smaller-statured Asamoah (6 feet) plays defense and special teams.

Both share a love for their African heritage and making a difference in the lives of youth.

Oliver and Asamoah each chose to support young people in Africa through the NFL's annual My Cause My Cleats initiative.

Asamoah has felt a deep connection to his Ghanaian roots since childhood, having spent an entire year at age 10 living with his uncle in Ghana. During the 2023 offseason, the Vikings linebacker traveled with NFL Africa to Nairobi, Kenya, for six days.


So when it came time for Asamoah to designate custom-painted cleats, he chose not only to represent The Brian Asamoah Foundation, the nonprofit he's developing, but also to support and raise awareness for Ghanaian youth.

"Through our foundation, we're dedicated to making a long-lasting impact on children in Minnesota, Ohio and Ghana," Asamoah said. "We want to cultivate a space where young athletes can learn and grow."

MCMC - Asamoah with Cleats

The Brian Asamoah Foundation also focuses on promoting youth education and creating opportunities.

"I wanted to give underprivileged kids an opportunity to take advantage of every chance they're given, whether it's in sports, life, school – just taking it day by day and really transforming their skills so they can get to where they want to be," Asamoah said. "It could be the NFL, it could be MLB, it could be a doctor or a pastor. That's really what I wanted to do."

Though his experience with NFL Africa strengthened his passion, Asamoah always envisioned himself working with young people and making a difference.

Brian Asamoah Ghana Pride

"As a kid, I was always asked what I wanted to do once I made it to the league or after life in football, and it was always like, 'Give kids an opportunity.' That's always what I've wanted to do," he said. "[Youth in Africa] might not have the exact same opportunities as I've had in the States, but I'm gonna [work] to give them those abilities and opportunities."

Asamoah credits his parents for instilling in him a heart for others.

"We were always giving back, whether it was at church, around our community … it was always about giving back," he said. "And that's what we [believe] in Christianity, too, being a servant leader. That's something that I was raised with, and it's important to me."

Oliver also comes from a family that sought to make a difference.

The fifth-year veteran has represented different causes since being drafted by Jacksonville in 2019, and this year he's shining a light on Zozu Project, a nonprofit that provides Christian education to children in Uganda.

MCMC - Josh Oliver

Zozu Project also focuses on family support, leadership training and community development. The program's staff members check in with the young people's caretakers regarding necessary education resources, and they also visit children's homes to ensure they have clean water and bed netting that helps protect from malaria-carrying mosquitos.

Arua Community Church serves as a hub for spiritual and community development, as well as maintaining four clean water wells and hosting a full-time medical clinic and pharmacy.

Oliver learned about Zozu Project through a close friend and pastor's mother, who does significant work with the organization.

"We talked about it this offseason, and I knew I wanted to highlight Zozu Project with my cleats this year," Oliver said. "I think it's really cool, the whole movement they have there."

The Vikings tight end hopes wearing the uniquely designed cleats will help garner additional support for the cause close to his heart.

Josh Oliver

"I never have to think about a clean water source or if I can sleep protected from mosquitos or not," Oliver said. "This is shedding light on different things going on around the world we don't think about on a day-to-day basis."

"[My Cause My Cleats helps spotlight] initiatives that the everyday person isn't familiar with," Oliver added. "Being able to wear the cleats and spread awareness, people at the game or watching on TV can see them and consider learning more about the cause and the charity."

Asamoah echoed Oliver's sentiments, saying he hopes their cleats can offer another perspective on life outside the United States.

"I love being creative in everything I do, so being able to show these things on cleats we wear in an NFL football game, it just raises awareness to things going on not only in this country but back 'home' in Africa," Asamoah said. "If someone looks at my cleats and asks, 'Hey, what is that for? Why are you wearing those,' then I get to explain it to them. … The more people who know, the better it will be for those kids."