• #BuiltToPlay with ESPN in Sydney

    February 28th 2019. We are delighted to announce our collaboration with ESPN/Disney, and other incredible partners in Sydney, Australia as part of their global Built to Play project.

    Today, Coaches Across Continents were delighted to be present at the official opening of a new, multifunctional sports space in Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia. The first of its kind that ESPN/Disney has done in Sydney and the eighth Built to Play project globally. The space, built by community volunteers and ESPN and Disney employees, is designed to provide a safe place to play for the surrounding community, as well as offer ongoing programming using the power of sports to educate young people on key local issues. The event included music, special cultural performances, and a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a showcase of the programming that will occur onsite. The project is led by ESPN and The Walt Disney Company, in collaboration with Education Outside the Classroom organizations, love.futbol, Coaches Across Continents and PCYC Mt Druitt.

    CAC is proud to be a part of this ESPN/Disney #BuiltToPlay initiative that brings a Love.Fútbol safe space and CAC’s Purposeful Play to PCYC Mt. Druitt to benefit tens of thousands of children and their families for years to come. – Brian Suskiewicz, Chief Executive, CAC

    As well as showcasing CAC’s work during the inauguration, our Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz will be running a Purposeful Play training program for PCYC coaches, teachers and community leaders over the next 3 days on the new pitches. We will then work closely with the PCYC to implement programming around key social topics identified by them over the next 10 months. Topics include community re-integration, gender equality, conflict prevention, health and substance abuse. The project will also include opportunities for ESPN employees in Sydney to engage with the PCYC, CAC and the community initiative throughout 2019.

    Because of #BuiltToPlay we have the potential ability to further develop our programming regarding youth guidance in education, safety, and core values to another level. – Lance Chaloner, Senior Club Manager at PCYC Mt. Druitt

  • Some Much Needed ‘Girl Determined’ Time

    February 11th, 2019. CAC Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur of YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India joined CAC ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley in Myanmar last December to work with CAC’s ASK for Choice Partner, Girl Determined. Nora and Jaspreet both share more about their experiences here.
    I have been working with CAC for over 5 years. For the majority of that time my focus has been on our ASK – Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge – for Choice program for women’s rights and gender equality. At the end of 2018 I spent an intense month traveling through Asia working with different partners. For 2 weeks I was the only woman present at some of our trainings – for reasons we know very well, and work every day to change. After these 2 weeks I have never been more aware of my identity as a Woman. I then spent one week with Girl Determined and – to put it simply – felt a welcome sense of ‘home’ in a place I had never been before.
    The Girl Determined team of incredible women from all over Myanmar came together for an intense week of training in the northern Kachin State. We integrated CAC on-field activities with Girl Determined strategies for designing new games, developing volleyball skills and learning more about leadership. This was our first year partnering with Girl Determined and we are excited to have them as part of the CAC network. We know from experience in similar contexts how difficult it can be to create spaces for women and girls to safely and confidently play and express themselves. From what I can see, Girl Determined not only achieves this each day but also have grown over the years to engage more girls and women from diverse backgrounds as leaders. It was also – personally and professionally – an immense privilege to experience and support my co-facilitator, Jaspreet, as she shared her knowledge, skills and Punjabi culture with the participants and staff. I’ll let her say more!
    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have been working with YFC as a Senior Training and Monitoring officer and Manager of Sports for Development Field since September 2013. I have attended 4 trainings of CAC on different domains and now I am working with CAC as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) from 2017.

    I would like to express my gratitude to Coaches Across Continents organization who gave me an amazing chance to attend the training program in Myanmar. This is the first International exposure for me as a CIC. This journey was one I will always remember. I got the chance to work with expert facilitator Nora Dooley. Everything was new for me, the language was totally different and the participants enjoyed the activities. I enjoyed the training field because the training area is situated between the hills.
    In this training me and Nora delivered the activities. Through this training I feel more confident than before. I have learned many coaching tips from this training such as how we can manage a large group of participants and different ways to use your voice as a coach. With Girl Determined we focused on topics such as Leadership, communication, healthy choices, women’s rights and adaptation of activities.
    This was the first time I visited Myanmar country. I got a chance to learn about Myanmar’s culture, food, clothing and things which are famous of the Kachin state. This was great exposure for me for new learning experiences, most beneficial for my coaching field. This trip will be unforgettable for me. I would like the express thank you of Aleta, Brooke and other staff from Girl Determined organization who gave us amazing gift from Kachin.
  • 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!

     

     

  • Soccerex USA- Official Partner

    November 15th 2018. Coaches Across Continents, the Official Charity Partner of Soccerex, is delighted to be exhibiting on November 15th and 16th at Soccerex USA in Miami. Soccerex USA at Miami’s iconic Marlins Park is delivered in partnership with key market stakeholders such as Concacaf, MLS and La Liga. Coaches Across Continents will be part of an expected attendance of over 1400 senior industry professionals including Landon Donovan, Carlos Cordeiro, Don Garber, Alexei Lalas and Juan Sebastian Veron.

    CAC create soccer Legacies by partnering with corporations, foundations, governments, and community-based organizations in 56 countries on 6 continents, impacting 16 million children.  Through our partnership with Soccerex we are able to offer Corporate Legacy opportunities to corporations, football clubs, sponsors and media groups.

    Over the last 20 years, Soccerex has brought the world of football together to network in a unique commercial environment. From hosting industry leading networking events across the globe to expert market insight campaigns, Soccerex provides a platform to connect businesses with the game’s key stakeholders.

    “We are delighted to work closely with Soccerex to offer Corporate Social Responsibility and Cause Marketing partnership opportunities for their network of soccer partners.  It is an exciting opportunity to use soccer to have real social impact around the world.” – Nick Gates, Founder and Global Strategist, Coaches Across Continents.

    “Soccerex unites the different commercial elements of the game but it is also an important opportunity to showcase soccer’s power to promote social change. This partnership with Coaches Across Continents will allow us to offer real expertise in this field to our delegates” – David Wright, Marketing Director, Soccerex