Education For A Changing World

Coaches Across Continents is a global leader in the sport for social impact movement. Our award-winning corporate partnerships and ‘Hat-Trick Initiative’ consist of comprehensive, year-round organizational development and sport for social impact education that focuses on local issues such as: female empowerment, including gender equity; conflict prevention, including social inclusion; health and wellness, including HIV/AIDS behavior change; child rights; vital life skills; and fun. Our key to success is a unique Self-Directed Learning model that is based on our 'Chance to Choice' and ‘ASK for Choice’ curricula that educate people to identify, address, and solve problems specific to their communities. We mentor organizations and empower communities to question harmful traditional, cultural, and religious practices; responsibly choose their own futures; and create sustainable change. Since 2008, we have worked in 41 countries with 385 implementing community partner programs. Overall, we have educated and certified 18,474 community coaches and directly impacted 2,533,245 young people.


We envision the day when all governments, municipalities, schools and communities have the skills to use sport as a social impact tool and make the choice to do so.


Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in providing year-round educational consultancy and mentorship to create social impact through sport. We design, develop, and implement ‘Education Outside the Classroom’ programs and partnerships with national and local governments, corporations, communities, and NGOs; empowering them to question harmful traditional, religious, and cultural practices; choose their own futures; and create pathways for change.


What inspires us the most:

• The capacity of communities to change
• The need to question tradition, religion and culture
• The opportunity for women to be treated as equals in sport and society
• The unifying nature of sport
• The chance for children to laugh
• The ability for individuals, groups and communities to choose their future

Our Approach

Self-Directed Learning: the foundation of our work.

Self-Directed Learners possess attitudes such as independence of mind, confidence in their own judgment, a sense of self-esteem leading to self-actualization and the ability to cooperate and collaborate with others. They are independent thinkers who can define and solve problems, reason logically, engage in the imaginative projection of their own ideas and set goals and strategies to achieve them. They reflect upon experience and learn from it.

Monitoring & Evaluation: Measuring Our Success

Coaches Across Continents (CAC) measures our success in engaging leaders to become Self-Directed Learners and create locally owned sustainability. CAC trains knowledgeable, skilled individuals who are critical thinkers capable of driving change and educating their entire community. Empowering youth and adult leaders, individuals, and organizations yields profound, tangible results that carry over to future generations. Research has shown that developing local leadership is a cost-effective strategy to generate long-term behavior change and community development. CAC’s quantitative and qualitative Monitoring and Evaluation provides key insights that improve communication at all levels, provides for adaptation to local needs, and informs future programs thus ensuring the continual improvement of the quality of services delivered to our partners.

Our Model

Theory of Change

The predominant approach to change in developing countries is typically top-down, outside in, and deficit based. In the case of NGOs this frequently manifests itself in a “west knows best” approach, by which foreign experts identify what they perceive to be local community issues. Externally determined solutions are then presented to local recipients with the expectation that they will be accepted and long term change will result. The change process is thus based on primary ownership by outsiders who analyse the situation based upon their perspectives, issues external directives and seek to change local communities without input from the community itself.

Conversely the guiding principles of Coaches Across Continents’ theory of change are that it should be bottom up, inside out and based on building community capacity. Change is fostered from within by empowering local partners to question previously taken for granted cultural certainties, challenge damaging local traditions and make responsible choices for their future. The Coaches Across Continents curriculum is structured to create Self-Directed Learners who have the capacity to identify, analyze and address local concerns and to see the world in a fundamentally different way.

For more on CAC's Theory of Change please have a look at this document.

From Chance to Choice

Coaches Across Continents has adopted an innovative curriculum development program based upon our own “From Chance to Choice” philosophy first identified and described by Dr. Judith Gates, a member of our Coach Advisory Board.

We believe that young people throughout the world go through similar stages of development. “From Chance to Choice” focuses upon the principles of moving from the chance and conformity of an unquestioned lifestyle through deepening insight to the recognition of potential choices. Personal life skills are required to make and act upon these choices – Coaches Across Continents works to give youth the life skills they need to move beyond “Chance” and reach “Choice:”

  1. Chance of birth: the inheritance of country, culture, religion, family norms and traditions determine life style.
  2. Conformity of childhood: unquestioning acceptance, fitting in to inherited culture and unawareness of alternatives lead to cultural acquiescence.
  3. Conflict of adolescence: ritual rebellion, self-assertion and questioning of the “taken for granted” contribute to the emerging individual.
  4. Certainty of post-adolescence: the need for peer approval, similarity, acceptance and the avoidance of doubt leads to culturally created complacency
  5. Contradictions: the awareness of ambiguities, recognition of complexity and acceptance that no one answer is sufficient deepen uncertainty and doubt, supporting rejection of that which was previously taken for granted
  6. Challenge: widening horizons, gaining insights, glimpsing alternative ways of thinking, considering options and imagining a different future opens up previously unrecognized possibilities for new ways of living
  7. Choice: growing in confidence, taking personal responsibility, owning your life, creating oneself and choosing a future empowers and liberates from the constraints of the past

Our Awards

Charity Film Awards

For our ASK for Choice film CAC's videographer Kevin O'Donovan was shortlisted at the Charity Film Awards.

Clinton Global Initiative

CAC was accepted membership into the Clinton Global Initiative for 2015.

Football For Good Awards 2015

CAC was shortlisted in the categories of "Champion of the Women's Game" and "International Impact Award."

Old Millfieldian of the Year 2013

The Millfield School (UK) recognized CAC founder Nick Gates as their Society Man of the Year .

Peace and Sport Finalist 2011

CAC was a finalist for the “"NGO for Peace of The Year" award for our work with Child Soldiers in Uganda.

Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

CAC was selected by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to receive equipment left by fans at St James’s Park.

Games 4 Good Foundation 2016

We were awarded a grant by Games 4 Good Foundation for our partnership with training4changeS in South Africa.

Beyond Sport Awards

CAC was shortlisted for the 2015 Beyond Sport Awards in the UNICEF Safeguarding Children in Sport category.

Corporate of the Year

CAC's partnership with Chevrolet was named 'Corporate of the Year' by Beyond Sport.

Kicking + Screening Winner 2012

Kicking + Screening Film Festivan announced that it had selected CAC as its Social Initiative for 2012.

Community Sports Facility Award

Connor Sport Court developed Tanzania’s first all weather, multi-purpose court in Kigoma.

Beyond Sport Awards

CAC won the Best New Project award at this global event in 2009.

Games 4 Good Foundation 2015

We were awarded a grant by Games 4 Good Foundation for our partnership with Breaking Ground in Cameroon.

Charity Times Awards

CAC was shortlisted in the category of "Charity of the Year: with an income of less than £1 million."

Google Ad Words Award 2014

CAC won the prestigious Google Ad Grants Award from Sports and Social Change in 2014.

One World Futbol Winner 2012

CAC is working with the One World Play Project to get their balls to all our global program sites.

Global Sports Finalist 2010

CAC was selected as a finalist at the Global Sports Forum in the Sport and Education category.

All 4 Africa Finalist 2009

CAC was a finalist at the SCORE4Africa Awards in London in 2009.

Our Story

" Some people think soccer is a matter of life and death. It’s not. It’s more important than that. "

– Bill Shankley, former Liverpool Manager

Drawing on more than 18 years in the soccer coaching and business world, Coaches Across Continents founder Nick Gates has developed a unique soccer for social impact curriculum aimed at training experienced coaches to assist developing communities and help young people become modern leaders. He launched the organization as a non-profit in 2008 and its success and impact has grown with every passing year.

1. The Origins

Growing up in the UK, Nick played soccer for England Youth International, then went on to play and study at Harvard University. After graduating he founded Play Soccer, a soccer coaching company in New England; over the next years he developed a Play Soccer camp, a Soccer as Education curriculum, and a Girls Play Soccer camp, bringing in professional coaches and working with Womens’ World Cup USA. By 2005, Play Soccer had worked with more than a million children and 9,000 local coaches.

2. Developing the concept

From 2001 to 2003, inspired by what was happening at Play Soccer, Nick traveled to more than 55 countries to develop the Coaches Across Continents concept and the “Chance to Choice” Curriculum. Then, after a year as the Business of Soccer Executive with the UK Premier League Middlesbrough Soccer Club, Nick set off for Africa, conducting soccer clinics in more than 10 countries over a 12-month period. The urgent need for social change in the regions where he traveled was obvious to him.

" What is needed is not another NGO doing the same things as some of the wonderful existing groups, what is needed is a group who can educate and train teachers, coaches, and volunteers so that they can use soccer to change lives. "

– Nick Gates, 2006

3. Coaches Across Continents is launched

Coaches Across Continents was officially launched in 2008, with Irish sports journalist Seamus Malin on the Board of Directors, and legendary soccerer Sir Bobby Robson as the organization’s UK spokesman. Program highlights for that year included:

• A Hat-Trick Initiative pilot program in Kigoma, Tanzania;
• The Coaches Across Continents “Soccer for Health and Wellness” being used throughout Africa on AIDS Day; and
• Demosphere, Middlesbrough Soccer Club, Play Soccer, and XL Soccer Tours becoming supporting partners of the organization.

Next year, 2009, saw an explosion of activity for the organization, including the addition of the “Soccer for Conflict Resolution” to the “Chance to Choice Curriculum.” On the basis of this work, Coaches Across Continents won the highly coveted Beyond Sport Global Award for Best New Project for Sport and Social Development.

In addition, 2009 saw the first-ever Girls Only Soccer, in Kigoma; Hat-Trick Initiative Programs carried out in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania; the first-ever Goals4Leaders sponsorship program, supported by Harvard University, and the establishment of the first-ever Soccer for Female Empowerment Program, in Zambia. By the end of the year, CAC’s website had received requests for its programs from 73 countries.

4. Onwards and Upwards

Every year CAC adds more countries and programs to its activities. By 2011, the demand for its programs had grown so great that the website was receiving a new request every day. In 2015, we worked in 29 countries with 89 implementing community partner programs. Overall, we educated and certified 3,842 community coaches and directly impacted 388,576 young people.

A Year In Review 2015

2014 Year In Review

2013 Annual Report

Our Staff, Teams, and Board of Directors

Coaches Across Continents has a dedicated and diverse group of individuals who make up our staff, teams, and board of directors. They include ex-English Premier League executives, US Soccer Hall of Fame members, World Cup Champions, professional coaches, Harvard graduates, world travelers, and business professionals. As a group they are able to complement each others strengths and deliver an organization which continues to be a global leader in sport for social impact.

To ensure that our 501 (c) 3 organization and UK-registered charity run as efficiently as possible, we have created three unique boards/teams to help guide our operations.

1. The Board of Directors oversees the whole organization and ensures that we run an efficient business.
2. The Coach Advisory Team works on our curriculum, on-line mentoring, and coach education. They also are committed to volunteer and staff recruitment.
3. The Business Advisory Team examines how we best develop our not-for-profit business model and connects with grants, foundations, and corporations for partnerships.

CAC's Sophie Legros sums up the feelings of the team when she says that “I am still amazed at the power soccer has to transcend language or cultures and to connect people.”

Business Advisory Team

Adam Rousmaniere: Barclays
Alicia Johnson: Kayne Anderson Capital
Andrea Montelbano: Dragonwing girlgear
Cairan McArdle: XL Sports World
Christian Aviza:
FJ Gould: VMTurbo
Graham Bradford:
Jamie Reilly:
Marie Margolius: Linked In
Nick D'Onofrio: North Asset Management

Coach Advisory Team

Tim Wheaton - Colby College Athletic Director and former CAC Global Citizen
Tracy Noonan - 1999 Women's World Cup Winner and former CAC Global Citizen
Staci Wilson - 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and former CAC Global Citizen
John O'Sullivan - Founder of Changing the Game Project and former CAC Global Citizen
Carrie Taylor - Director of Coaching (Laguna United) and former CAC Global Citizen
Mike Calise - Harvard University Women's Soccer and future CAC Global Citizen

Our Partners

Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

Clinton Global Initiative

Women Win

Games 4 Good Foundation

Beyond Sport

Xara Soccer

Middlesbrough Football Club

Taiji Brand Group

Chevrolet FC

Sport Session Planner

Soccer in the Sand

XL Sports World

One World Play Project

Standard Chartered Bank

Street Football World