CAC’s LA Adventure
January 17th 2017. The CAC world has revolved around Los Angeles, USA over the past 10 days. For 4 days the team discussed CAC strategy at the Hawthorne Police Department who kindly allowed us to use their community room. We also covered new aspects of the CAC curriculum on the Chevrolet FC field which is managed and used by the Hawthorne PD to break down barriers between the police and local youth. It was built last year and opened by Manchester United legend Denis Irwin and Gyasi Zardes of LA Galaxy. Towards the end of the 10 days we branched out and fulfilled other commitments in the LA area:
- We ran a session with teachers from 9 different ICEF schools in the LA area (see picture above). This session focused on CAC’s educational Self-Directed Learning methodology. We demonstrated some CAC games to the group of engaged and passionate teachers which led to many fun and interactive discussions.
- Three of the CAC team (Nora Dooley, Emily Kruger and Kelly Conheeney) talked to volunteer Carrie Taylor on her radio show called Women Talking Football which airs on KaoticRadio.com. They discussed CAC’s partnership model and our ASK for Choice initiative which influences gender policy globally.
- CAC’s Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz and ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley presented at the NSCAA Convention at the LA Convention Center (see picture below). They analyzed ‘Global Coaching for Social Impact: What US Soccer Can Learn From Developing Countries’. During the convention CAC was also able to meet with many of our partners, old and new.
- Brian was also on a podcast called Youth Soccer Spotlight which is broadcast from Network Studios in LA. They welcomed Brian on to discuss CAC, our work and the work of many of the youth soccer coaches who get involved with CAC. Check out this podcast here.
While it was a very busy week for the full CAC team things don’t get quieter! Some of the team have already gone to Haiti to start our 2017 partner programs with the Haitian Initiative while others have major external meetings planned this week. More on that soon!
Getting Creative With Chevrolet
This week we have been delighted to bring our partnership with Chevrolet FC to Sudeva Sports in Delhi, India. Chevrolet recently built a full-size grass field for Sudeva. They are one of the biggest football academies in Delhi with some of the best sporting talent in the country. The new field will help Sudeva take their academy to the next level and continue their players physical and personal development. Chevrolet FC hosted an event in Delhi which brought Manchester United legend Quinton Fortune to Delhi to open the new field.
Excitement and hope are common emotions in Delhi. The sights, sounds and smells convey a sense of history, diversity, unpredictability and passion. This is constantly expressed in many ways including the incessant beeping of car horns and the mixing of innumerable spices to create delicious meals. During our time working with Sudeva we experienced these feelings on the sports field. Working with an energetic group of young men and women from Sudeva and another Delhi partner, Naz Goal, we saw their excitement in every game we played and felt their openness through high-fives, handshakes and the occasional fistbump. Most of all though we heard their belief in a community, city and country which has the ability to grow and develop into a hub for critical thinking, open-mindedness and tolerance through their words and laughter.
CAC attempts to create a space, using sport, where participants can safely discuss problems in their community and identify creative solutions to these problems. During this program, the group discussed issues such as gender equality, social inclusion and the environment (especially as the field was covered in smog after Diwali) which harm the economic and social development of their country. Towards the end of the week the young leaders were becoming adept at creating new sport for social impact games to address these issues with local youth. Following discussions with participants we prioritized our ASK for Choice female empowerment curriculum due to the troublingly high instances of discrimination against women in all walks of life in India. These games often prompted the most impactful discussions of the entire program. As Vicky, 1st team goalkeeper for Sudeva said, ‘Gender equality starts with us – ourselves, families, communities and up to our country and world.’
Thanks to Chevrolet FC, our work with Sudeva will allow their hopeful young leaders to sustainably use the new field to harness the creativity and passion of local children for social good. The safe space, energy, support and resources are there- now it is time to implement.
One Love: Harare, Zimbabwe
June 27th 2016. CAC volunteer Carrie Taylor writes about her 1st CAC experience in Harare, Zimbabwe.
When analyzing my time in Zimbabwe through Coaches Across Continents, I keep coming back to the idea of the incredible power of sport, and in this case the sport is soccer/football. If you can mention the name Messi, Marta, Ronaldo or talk about an EPL team, you can strike up a conversation with anyone and make an instant connection.
CAC brought me to Harare to work with the wonderful coaches of Zim through the Sports Recreation Commission via Neswten Chipoya. Newsten was quiet yet very strong in organizing people. He did a tremendous job in bringing people together and creating connections. Our zany and energetic leader for the week was Nora Dooley from CAC along with Nico who is from Tanzania whose outgoing personality and his penchant for teaching wood ball was a hit with the participants.
As a longtime coaching educator in the US, I have had a lot of experiences with working with coaches, so going in, I was very interested in how different the CAC curriculum was and how it was to be delivered from the typical US coaching course.
First off I was blown away by the shear number and strength of the women in the course. I was able to meet Rosemary who was the former Zimbabwe Women’s National team coach, and a some of her former players; Lillian, Bridget, Dorothy and Elizabeth to name a few. Many of whom were returning to the CAC program for the second or third time. Then we had a group of 6 female teachers from Masvingo who travelled 400k by bus to come learn how to impact their primary and secondary students in their area. All these women were strong, powerful, outspoken and well respected by every man in the course. During the week through the CAC games and group work about Gender Equality, Child Rights, and Healthy Behaviors these women made sure their opinions were heard and that they garnered respect from everyone in the course.
A few of these women mentioned above, then came together again later after the week was done along with other female sport leaders in Zimbabwe. Nora introduced the women to CAC’s ASK for Choice Curriculum. These women met for discussions about first how to support one another in their challenges and second to start to form a Women’s Sports Leaders Group with the support of the SRC. To be apart of these discussions was great for me, as we have similar challenges in the US and I have been active lately in the growth of the female voice in soccer back home.
Another one of the key people who not only drove us around all week, but made it a goal to make sure that we were able to watch the Euros at the local pub was Julius. Julius was the epitome of the power of sport. During the week we found out that Julius had lived recently and gone to school in Leipzig, Germany, was a PE teacher and coach at Cornway College, which is a private school outside of Harare. Julius also was graduate of the University of Zimbabwe. Besides liking Man U, 😉 Julius was a wonderful, thoughtful and kind host. He showed us the underlying passion, spirit and drive of many of the coaches we met in Harare. We were able to meet a few of his players during the week and very much saw the mutual respect and caring between Julius and the young men that he coaches.
Then there was Wisdom, whose contagious energy, passion and zest for soccer was evident from the smile and joy he exuded every time you were around him. When playing a CAC adapted game that we would typically identify as “Partner Steal the Bacon”, instead of being given a number your groups of two were identified first by issues surrounding child rights, such as child abuse, child labor, early marriage. Then the game switched and your group was identified by a solution to the issues, such as education, or communication. Wisdom’s group wanted Love to be the solution. This solution struck a chord with me.
LOVE, and in this case our common love of soccer brought this amazing group of coaches together for a week. Love for our players, love for competition, love for the world sport of soccer. This experience was nothing like the coaching courses that I teach back home. Sure we shared your basic soccer activities for kids, but real social issues were discussed, and more importantly people shared their love and passion for the game and made friendships and connections that hopefully they will carry with them forever. I feel fully confident that each participant will apply something that they learned from this week and utilize it in their own environment. I will take home new friendships, a new dance or two, a couple words of Shona, and a much deeper appreciation for the world through love for the beautiful game.
Where There’s Play There’s Beautiful Possibilities
June 21st 2016. For the past two weeks CAC has been working with ChildFund Korea and Chevrolet FC in Incheon, South Korea to build a sustainable pathway for using sport as a social impact tool. This culminated in the unveiling of a new Chevrolet FC pitch by Manchester United legend Gary Bailey at the ChildFund Borame Center in Incheon.
Throughout the two weeks CAC worked closely with ChildFund Korea, other local partners and coaches to ensure the new pitch could be used effectively over the coming months and years. ChildFund Korea provides safe spaces for children who have been physically and mentally abused. Teachers at the ChildFund Borame Center attended CAC training which focused on child rights, problem-solving and communication. During the two weeks we also traveled to Ulsan to work with the local ChildFund staff and help them use sport as a social impact tool. In addition, we engaged coaches from FC Incheon, a soccer academy working with many local children, and students from Incheon Universities Department of Sports and Exercise Science. Involving NGO’s, clubs and universities ensured a cross-sectoral deep impact which will reach children from various communities and backgrounds.
In South Korea children of all ages are under intense pressure from families and institutions to succeed in school. We regularly heard stories of children going to school and studying for 15 hours a day simply to keep up with their classes. This has led to incredibly fast progress for the nation which is at the forefront of design and technology. A common term in Korea is ‘pali pali’ or faster (which contrasts with a common Swahili term ‘pole pole’ or slowly!). Unfortunately this pressure has also led to an increasing number of South Korean children committing suicide. Taking a break from their studies and simply enjoying sports and play is not always an option for South Korean children. The importance of encouraging participation in sports to challenge this culture can’t be underestimated. Where there’s play, there’s beautiful possibilities.
9 Times with Chevrolet FC
June 17, 2016. Nine times. With respect to the classic line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Nine is now the number of life-altering pitches that Chevrolet FC has built in communities around the world, helping disadvantaged children to grow both socially and emotionally. Coaches Across Continents award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC just unveiled the latest community pitch, this time in Incheon, South Korea. Despite the threat of rain, the weather held out allowing for dignitaries, Chevrolet Korea, CAC, and special guest and Manchester United legend Gary Bailey have full ceremonies and turn the pitch over to the Borame center and ChildFund Korea.
This is a group that works, counsels, and houses children who have been abused, generally physically or emotionally. The power of play is now just outside their center, allowing for children to learn from our unique curriculum that is designed to educate children on issues such as Child Rights, Health & Wellness, and Conflict Prevention. As they play there children will grow both emotionally and socially.
Coaches Across Continents is proud to work with community changing initiatives with Chevrolet FC, and this one is especially rewarding because of the recipients who will benefit the most from this sustainable initiative.
Star Power in Hawthorne
February 8th, 2016. The stars came out in force for the launching of the Chevrolet FC pitch in Hawthorne, Los Angeles. The eighth project in our award-winning partnership with Chevrolet brought out Manchester United legend Dennis Irwin, LA Galaxy/USMNT and Hawthorne native Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy player and former England international Steven Gerard, LA Galaxy players A.J. DeLaGarza and Baggio Husidic, and team president and former USMNT player Chris Klein.
This impressive group of individuals were there to witness the power of play and see the beautiful possibilities that Chevrolet FC creates. Hawthorne, California was where Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy) grew up. As a child, Zardes was forbidden from playing in the park where they new pitches were created as they instituted a “no soccer” policy on park grounds. However together with the Hawthorne Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Department, Chevrolet FC has helped to change attitudes as they built three new futsal pitches in place of some unused and derelict tennis courts. These futsal courts are now the focal point of the community.
Coaches Across Continents has been working throughout the project with the LA Galaxy Foundation and the Hawthorne Police department to ensure that this safe space can be used for social impact, and that the local coaches, police officers, and community leaders have the skills to do so. In future, Hawthorne may see more great players emerge from their community, and tens of thousands of children will be able to enjoy the facility and learn from the sport in their new space.