• CAC Launches Organizational Accreditation Program

    WATERTOWN, MA, USA  Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce the first-ever global Organizational Accreditation Program in Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom.

    Becoming an accredited organization will improve that organizations ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, to find and secure funding and award opportunities, to enhance brand reputation, and more.

    Once accredited, partners will receive additional support from Coaches Across Continents including substantial joint-funding opportunities, educational travel and leadership development, global recognition, and high-level networking.

    There are two distinct levels:  Accreditation and Advanced Accreditation. Coaches Across Continents is committed to working with their partners to design a pathway towards accreditation status.

    To read the full press release, please click here:

    CAC-Organizational-Accreditation-Program

  • Gender Equality – Youth for Change

    December 21st, 2018. Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC Women’s Professional Soccer Player, McKenzie Meehan, writes about her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Punjab, India with Community Partner YFC Rurka Kalan! 

    During my last week in India, we worked with YFC Rurka Kulan, a youth football club that also stands for “Youth for Change”. Rurka Kulan is a small village that relies heavily on its farming, but unfortunately has had many issues with substance abuse in the past. After my time here, it was very evident that YFC has become an oasis from this drug-ridden village and has granted many children the opportunity to make positive choices.

    Despite our short stay, I was very impressed by YFC’s huge influence within this community. We stayed right in the village within a family’s home so on our walk to and from the YFC facilities, we would often see many kids from the YFC programs walking home or to school. Other locals in the village were very welcoming and kind, and we were told it was because they truly appreciate those who come to help support YFC.

    In terms of our training, we focused a lot of gender equity, which is a large issue in remote villages like Rurka Kulan. Unfortunately, girls and women are not given the same access to education, employment and sport as boys and men, and few women are granted leadership positions. We had many important conversations with the participants about how these social norms can be challenged and ultimately changed within their community.

    Back in November, YFC Rurka Kulan hosted a 10-day event with Generation Amazing called “Girls Play, Girls Lead”, a huge event with teams from all over the world that focused on developing leadership qualities in young girls through football. We saw a video of the incredible event and we recognized several of the girls from programs that we worked with earlier in the trip!

    Throughout my four weeks in India, it has been promising to see how supportive and collaborative these Sport for Development programs are with one another. As another example, three of the organizations (Naz Foundation, Slum Soccer, and YFC Rurka Kulan) encouraged their girls to participate in “Goals For Girls”, a program that provides girls the opportunity to travel to Utah as part of a leadership summit. When my teammates and I at Sky Blue FC played against Utah Royals FC back in May, the Goals for Girls Summit was occurring, and I remember seeing all the girls up in the stands at the game. It’s crazy that it’s such a small world, but reflecting back on this moment really made this work feel even more meaningful with a very visible and real impact!

  • Rohingya Refugees and UN SDGs

    Over 900,000 Rohingya refugees are now living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This is 3x bigger than any other refugee camp in the world.  Starting last year, renewed violence including reports of rape, murder, and arson forced nearly all the Rohingya people living in the Rakhine state of Myanmar to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and instantly fracturing their society.

    Imagine all the people living in Austin, Texas fleeing en masse with no possessions, money, or communication – with family & friends permanently separated… or worse.

    The UNHCR has taken the monumental task to lead the care for this population, including feeding, housing, and other basic needs. But these services only address so much. Refugees are coming from an instantly fractured society and arriving at a place where they might not know anyone.  Many have been permanently separated from families, neighbors, and friends.  Individuals, especially children, single women, the elderly, and the disabled are at increased vulnerability to suffer additional harm. It is here that other organizations, oftentimes NGOs, look to work with the UNHCR to provide vital services including Community Based Protection.

    Coaches Across Continents, supported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), have started a 6-month pilot program to use football to create Community Based Protection.  Our program is using football to rebuild that fabric of society, and those networks, so that people are able to care for their families, their new neighbors, and each other – so that everyone is better supported and better protected, and therefore at reduced risk for experiencing additional harm.

    Our On-Field interview with Adam Nord (UNHCR Community Based Protection) explains this concept further in this 3+ minute video.

    “I see that this program… is a very important part of this as well.  It’s about using a very strong community-based approach to train new young refugee coaches who are then going to go back into their community to work with and to support other youth / other individuals in a way that engages and strengthens those society ties.  That’s complimented within CAC’s trainings on child protection, violence, and other issues, allows them then to engage through sports… in discussing those issues that are affecting their communities”

    “It’s an excellent example of a community based approach”     – Adam Nord, UNHCR Child Protection

    Over the course of the 6-month pilot supported by the AFC, Coaches Across Continents has trained 75 local Rohingya refugees to become soccer coaches across 25 different camps/districts within Cox’s Bazar. Equipment has been provided by the AFC and BFF so that they can engage boys and girls in their community on a weekly basis, and begin to impact some of the 500,000 children under the age of 17 living in the camps.  Throughout the year the newly minted coaches will receive communication, mentoring, and support from the BFF and CAC.  The 6-month pilot will culminate with a Football Fun Festival in May, 2019, with an eye towards continuing and expanding this program as funding allows.

    To support or learn more about this initiative, please contact CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at

  • More Than a Football Pitch

    December 20th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio blogs from Nagpur, India about our On-Field week with longtime partner and inaugural FIFA Diversity Award winner Slum Soccer. 

    Upon leaving the airport in Nagpur, India you encounter what I, based on my limited experience in India, call “classic India”. Unfinished roads overpopulated with honking vehicles, massive cows snacking on mounds of trash, and a musty air that fills your nose with an undesirable stench. While this “classic India” of mine is certainly not a fair representation, after a week in the overcrowded chaos of New Delhi, these are the things you become accustomed to. Therefore, I was quite relieved when we drove past the industrial madness of Nagpur into the rural are of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is a small town that, upon first glance, lacks any distinctive features. There is one long, bumpy road that runs through the village flanked by a combination of small food stalls, large cows, underdeveloped homes, and small tents which sit on a ground of dust and rocks. So, you can only imagine our surprise when we first encountered the turf field that sits in the middle of this underdeveloped region. This field, surrounded on all sides by a large chain linked fence, belonged to Slum Soccer, the partner that Coaches Across Continents was set to work with that week. While I didn’t know this at the moment, this 30 x 60 piece of turf is way more than just a football pitch. 

    Slum Soccer was started around ten years ago by a university professor named Vijay Barse, who we were fortunate enough to meet. After watching kids play soccer with a broken bucket in the slums, he was inspired to set up a tournament for them so they could enjoy competition in a more formal setting. As time went on, this tournament turned into weekend sessions for the local community. Today, Slum Soccer provides educational/healthcare workshops, societal developmental programs, coaching camps, and the pure joy of a place to play football to nearly 70,000 men, women, and children across 63 districts in India. This meteoric rise from a fun football tournament for a few to an empowering resource for thousands can best be summarized in the stories of the people who work for Slum Soccer. 

    One such person is a young man named Homkant from Northern India. As a child, he grew up during the heat of the ongoing tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups in India and Pakistam. Amidst the tensions and dangers of the violence that plagued the region, Homkant was pressured to join the Hindu side. Caught between attacks on Islamic holy sites and the defense of his own sacred temples, he called this period of his life the “darkest chapter”. In the face of problems in his own home and with the local police, he left everything behind to start a new life in Nagpur. However, this “new life” was far from lucrative. He spent one year living on the streets before picking up a job at a local tea stall. This is when Slum Soccer stepped in. Without passing any judgment, the individuals in Slum Soccer found Homkant and provided with a home, three meals a day, and an opportunity to learn and build within the beautiful game. The pinnacle of this experience was being selected to represent India in the Homeless World Cup. Following these life changing moments, he has now dedicated himself full time to the organization. He is constantly running trainings and educational programs, recruits players for the Homeless World Cup and is looked up to like a big brother by the others in Slum Soccer who have also been helped off the streets. 

    Across Slum Soccer, you can find many stories similar to that of Homkant. Stories of struggle, strife, and a rebirth supported by the strong arms of Slum Soccer. However, the members of the organization are far from content. The minute we arrived they were proposing new challenges in order to take sport for development to a new level. Early on we decided that over the course of the week, we would take a step forward and teach games that would cover very intense issues such as menstruation. In many parts of rural India, there is little to no knowledge about the process of menstruation. In extreme cases, this means that women on their period are barred from entering the household because of fears that their menstrual blood will contaminate the food, water, plants, and other items in the home. Generally isolated in a shelter without food, water, and access to proper hygienic materials, thousands of young women die per year because of these myths. Additionally, 23 million women per year are forced drop out of school because of their period. Many of the women that we worked with in our time at Slum Soccer shared stories about how the lack of educational materials regarding menstruation has resulted in terrible consequences for themselves, loved ones, and other women. United under the leadership of full time CAC Coach Ashlyn, we worked to develop a number of games that teach women about the truths of menstruation through sport. Given Slum Soccer’s wide reach, we are hopeful that this will have a positive impact on many women’s lives. 

    In my four months with CAC, I’ve found that in many cases, despite all of the hard work put in on-field, you don’t quite know if sport for development will ever fully “catch-on” and have the positive impacts that you are hoping for. However, upon the completion of the week with Slum Soccer, I felt supremely confident that our partnership would have a positive impact on many lives. This confidence was fueled by the fruitful discussions, ambitious leaders, and inspirational stories that I was fortunate to come across throughout the week. While at first, the little turf field in Maharashtra just seemed like a nice place to play, I now know that the field itself is only a smart part of Slum Soccer’s commitment to forgiveness, education, opportunity and creating a home to those like Homkant who were forced to leave everything behind. I can’t wait to see the results of CAC and Slum Soccer’s partnership in the coming years. 

  • Mining Communities Meet the ‘Venice of the East’

    December 19th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Moritz Guertler discusses our week in Udaipur, India with The Football Link and Hindustan Zinc.

    Reflecting on our week in Rajasthan, I first need to enthuse over Udaipur – the city of lakes – or how some also refer to as the Venice of India. Please make sure to spend a couple of days in Udaipur when in this part of the world, it is full of culture, beautiful views, and palaces! Surrounded by hills and mountains, Udaipur lays within clear and clean lakes. After the city was founded in the 16th century, the ruler at that time increased the size of Pichola Lake by flooding the Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. A bit radical to upgrade your summer residence to say the least… Other than that Udaipur still has all the characteristics of an Indian city with cows blocking the traffic, continuous honking as well as the vibrant and busy buzz of daily life.

    For our program in Udaipur, Rajasthan we have been working together with The Football Link (TFL), the strategy and implementation partner of Hindustan Zinc’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative Zinc Football. Our team was well surprised about the all-new and state of the art football facilities located one hour outside of Udaipur right in the middle of Hindustan Zinc’s mining township. The idea behind TFL is to use the power of football for social development in Zinc’s mining communities. Together with TFL’s coaches we worked to lay ground towards a curriculum especially designed for boys and girls to play together outside any competitive environment. Focus topics for this week were social inclusion, gender equality, health & wellness, discipline, and – most importantly – a safe space for the kids to be themselves and have fun. Together with CAC’s flexible curriculum we adapted some games accordingly in order to tackle these aims, specifically.

    I deeply wish TFL all the best and success for the years to come. Together with Hindustan Zinc’s resources, the great and hard-working staff of TFL, and the passionate as well as energetic coaches the future looks bright for the youth in Hindustan Zinc’s mining communities.

  • A New Side of Sport for Sky Blue FC’s McKenzie Meehan

    December 13th 2018. CAC Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC playerMcKenzie Meehan writes about working with Naz Foundation in Delhi, India with CAC.

    Hi everyone!

    During my first week, we worked with the Naz Foundation, a great organization that seeks to empower young women through the power of play and opportunity to learn in partnership with CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom curriculum. Our primary focus was to work with the netball coaches who teach life skills to young girls at local government schools. Naz’s netball curriculum seeks to fulfill their four main goals: to Be Yourself, Be Empower, to Be Money Savvy, and to Be Healhty.

    Because Naz has been working with CAC over the past several years, the coaches were very familiar with the standard CAC games that bring about social change. Perhaps more importantly, it was clear that the coaches truly wanted to engage, teach and empower their players in a meaningful way. Therefore, our week with the coaches was focused on helping them develop the necessary skills to do this, without necessarily following a step-by-step guide in a written curriculum.

    After evaluating several coaches at local schools and understanding the challenges these coaches often face, we focused on two main areas. First, we wanted to help Naz expand the number of games in their curriculum, while showing them how each game can have several progressions and can be used to teach numerous social messages. Next, we challenged the coaches to problem solve, to use critical thinking, and to ask players important questions to initiate meaningful conversation about important issues.

    Ultimately, the goal was to focus on the development of the ‘master trainers’, trainers, and community sports coaches to enhance the impact of the program on all of the young girls. I was very impressed by all of the coaches, as they were incredibly energetic, confident and empowered young women (as well as a few men!). It was cool to see them grow more confident in their roles as the week went on.

    Apart from our on-field work with the Naz Foundation, we went to a football training session with young boys and girls run by an organization called Foot and Boot. Despite the sandy field, the kids had so much fun and it’s amazing to see how much they truly love playing. Another evening, we played pick-up soccer with some coaches from The Football Link, the organization we will be working with in Udaipur later this month.

    In terms of Delhi itself, there are over 20 million people in the city, so the traffic and noise is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Our taxi driver told us your need three things to be able to survive in Delhi: a good horn, good brakes, and good luck!

    We also squeezed in a bit of sight seeing – we walked by the India gate, the President’s House, and through the crowded, windy streets Old Delhi. Yesterday, we took a day trip to the city of Agra where we visited the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, and the Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah; all three sites were even more beautiful than expected. The food here has also been great, although my mouth is usually on fire by the end of the meal!

    Looking forward to heading to Nagpur to work with Slum Soccer – thanks for following along!