For the past  month, the 2010 World Cup  has had sports  fans worldwide whipped into a frenzied state of obsession that is commonly known as World cup fever. This affliction sees football fans* unable to concentrate on work while their team of choice is battling it out in South Africa; somehow tolerating the obnoxious bee-like sound that a symphony of vuvuzelas in the stand produces; and accepting daytime- occasionally even morning- drinking, as rabid fans make their ways to various watering holes to see this popular sport played live half way across the world.

After Sunday’s final game between the Netherlands and Spain fans will either feel the agonizing disappointment of defeat or the absolute elation of being a champion.  Monday morning offices across the globe will likely see an increase of productivity, the sound of swarming bees will again illicit an appropriate amount of fear in individuals, and drinking before noon will again only be practiced by professional winos and eaters of brunch.

As it stands, the greenest thing about football–or most sports for that matter–is the fields on which they are played. Big corporate sponsorships, by companies such as Nike and Adidas, see this beloved game and many other professional sports being played with less than eco-friendly gear and balls. These big name companies may have catchy slogans and million dollar ad campaigns that frequently air during the World Cup, but each has a scandalous history of  human rights violations– each taking of advantage of  cheap sweatshop labor frequently–allegedly even currently.

Once the World Cup fever breaks, and you start to feel withdrawals for the World’s favorite sport, you may get a hankering to kick a ball of your own up and down a grassy field this summer. Unlike these big shot professional sport organizations, you can approach your purchases from a standpoint of compassion. When it comes to big named brands, ignore the commercials that have been pumped into your eyes and ears throughout this World Cup– just don’t do it. Get your soccer–er, I mean football gear from companies such as  this amazing company, Fair Trade Sports. Their products are not only Fair Trade certified, but they are all vegan and eco-friendy! As if this were not impressive enough, this company generously donates their after -tax profits to an array of  children’s charities!

Now that’s a spicy football!

Even if you never make a goal, you can take pride in knowing that your gear is not only eco-friendly, but human kind friendly. You may not be a sports star, but you are a super star of compassion- so go ahead, have a good morning drink, you’ve earned it.

* “Soccer fans” to those of us in the United States–football here involves more tackling and confusingly, much less contact between ball and foot.

-Meghan Hurley