• From Phnom Penh to the Philippines

    May 6th 2016. CAC Community Impact Coach Makara Sopheak from our partner ISF in Cambodia writes about his time with CAC and FundLife International in the Philippines. Thanks to ISF who first published this blog.

    My name is Makara Sopheak. I am one of the senior coaches at Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF). I always dreamed of being a football coach and developing football in Cambodia. I used to be the leader of my high school football team and then I was a volunteer coach. I have learned many things since I came to ISF in 2011, I got to know many other football organizations and worked closely with them, especially Coaches Across Continents (CAC). For some years, CAC has been working with ISF to teach coaching and football for social change. They also do international exchanges when coaches from different countries train each other. This month, I was selected to be a Community Impact Coach in CAC’s program in The Philippines with FundLife International.

    After working with CAC for a few years, in the coaching program and doing the Online Education initiative, I was thrilled to hear that I was selected to join the program in The Philippines.  I immediately started to prepare documents and exercises to do during the training. The CAC program in the Philippine is similar to Cambodia and they organize an exchange to share sport for social development skills with other coaches.  The training is based on doing fun games to teach about social issues. In this case, the CAC program was focused on child rights and gender equality.

    The reason that I wanted to be part of the program was because I want to work closely with CAC in order to learn more about football and share it to other coaches both in Cambodia and other countries. Charlie from CAC and I provided training to 82 coaches in Tacloban and BayBay. First they learnt about some of the games we developed and then they got to create games by themselves. Some Filipino Community Impact Coaches helped us with the sessions.

    Besides sharing and coaching them, I also learned a lot from the Filipino coaches. They taught me some English football terms and new methods to create football games about social issues like HIV. Joining this program taught me about being flexible and improved my communication skills with foreigners. I also learned a lot more about football for social change.

    It was the first time for me to travel abroad and I really like The Philippines: the green environment, nice food and very friendly people. Even though some things (like flying for the first time) were a bit challenging, I would like to work with the CAC team in the future to do more training abroad. After coming back, I talked to our coaches about what I learned in The Philippines and what skills they need to also do an international exchange. On top of that, I will talk to our Football Programme Manager to arrange a training course that I have done in The Philippines to share with other coaches.  I hope other coaches will get the opportunity like me to work with the CAC staff and exchange ideas with others coaches.

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  • Baybay: Sweeter the Second Time Around

    May 5th 2016. CAC Community Impact Coach Hazel Cerena writes about her week with CAC in Baybay, Philippines.

    On its second year, Coach Patty and I (from Football for Life) helped lead the CAC training alongside Coach Charlie and Coach Makara (a Community Impact Coach from Cambodia). There was a mix of excitement and fear since Charlie told me and Coach Patty that CAC Chief Executive Strategist Brian wanted to push us (not literally) during the seminar. We would lead most of the drills so I was hoping I could make it interesting for the participants.

    First day came and while we were waiting for the participants, it was a bright sunny day in Baybay National High School. As the participants arrived I was told that most were PE teachers but upon their arrival, I noticed some of them were hardly fit and never played football. The teachers from the school made a small opening ceremony to formally introduce us and each of us coaches gave a little speech for the participants. All I really wanted was for them was to promote football for social change within the city, learn from the seminar, but mostly, to have fun.

    I volunteered myself to do the Messi Skills for Life game which was a relatively easy game because it was more on technical skills than the other games. As I have said earlier, it was a bit challenging for some of the participants since most of them weren’t football players but never they never gave up which I really found inspiring. Day one was well spent and on the way to our hotel, we passed through a shortcut which revealed a rice field with the view of the mountains. It was too beautiful to not notice.

    On the second day, the participants were more confident and more active on the games. There was one particular participant who was very enthusiastic, he was bringing more colour to the games and immediately became the star of the group (not that I’m being biased but he was really cheerful!).

    Early evening we had a nice swim at a resort inside Visayas State University, where we held the first CAC training. Coach Patty, Coach Charlie, and I were practicing our Frisbee skills in the swimming pool while coach Makara was on the side, happily taking pictures of us (unfortunately he doesn’t know how to swim).

    We had more challenging games on the third day, where their creative juices were being brought out and truthfully, they never failed to deliver. Everyone was actively participating and enjoying the games.

    There were two highlights of the seminar, each of them came from the female coaches who shared their experiences. On our talk about gender equity in Baybay, one female coach was very emotional when she was sharing her childhood experience to the group. It wasn’t how she was mistreated about being a girl but how her childhood disposition made her into what she is right now. The other female coach who delivered her speech towards the end of the program said she was expecting the usual, boring seminar but to her surprise she had never sweated that much in a seminar! And for that, she was very thankful to us coaches for the knowledge we shared with them for the past four days plus a promise to promote football for social change in their community.

    The experiences I had with Baybay was definitely sweeter this time around.

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  • Re-envisioning The Field

    August 19th 2015. Coaches Across Continents volunteer Emily Spring talks about her first week On-Field in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with IndoChina Starfish Foundation.

    We step onto the football field in Phnom Penh for the first time this year on a hot August day. Before the end of our first day training coaches from Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF), laughter could be heard in abundance, and this theme of joy continued throughout the week.

    “Joy” wasn’t always a word that could be used to describe many fields in Phnom Penh. For most westerners who come to this place for the first time, Cambodia is infamous for its Killing Fields, one of several locations throughout Cambodia marked for its mass graves discovered after the Cambodian Genocide. However, among this group of dedicated coaches – many of whom have returned for the second or third year – the Genocide could not be further from their minds. For these coaches, the field represents a place of fun and laughter for everyone.

     ISF – CAC’s partner program here in Phnom Penh – has worked to foster hope in the communities of Chbar Ampov and Stung Meanchey, just outside the city center. This week, ISF and CAC have been working together with 30 coaches who impact thousands of children.  The field no longer has to represent a place of discrimination, pain, or suffering. We are working to build a new type of field in Phnom Penh – both tangibly and metaphorically. This December, a new, tangible complex will be built – complete with two full-length football fields and one Connor Sport Court where kids can safely play, run, and kick a ball around.

     More importantly are the various fields that ISF has already established throughout Phnom Penh where they train dozens of teams and thousands of children. Through its partnership with Kousar Thmery – a local school for deaf children – ISF has created an inclusive space where kids of all abilities are welcome to play. Through the Rabbit School for children with disabilities, ISF has ensured that the field represents a place where no child is discriminated. And through its various community outreach programs, ISF has already established itself throughout Chbar Ampov and Stung Meanchey, creating several programs based in inclusion, education, and play.

     In Phnom Penh, we are working to instill hope to all children involved in ISF’s programs – hope for a better future that moves away from a violent history of harsh discrimination. Thanks to our games in CAC’s Chance to a Choice program, we have not aimed to create an escape from the past; rather, we have created a space where coaches and kids can safely speak about such issues. ISF and CAC are reenvisioning the field for Cambodia – one that is no longer rooted in discrimination, but instead represents an inclusive, fun, and safe environment. One where all children are welcomed and encouraged to speak up – a field where hope can finally be found.

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  • The Complete 2015 Documentary

    April 13th 2015. Over the past few weeks we have been releasing sections of our 2015 Documentary. Now, for the first time, CAC is pleased to present our complete 2015 documentary. The documentary was filmed in Cambodia in August 2014 with our inspirational partners there, IndoChina Starfish Foundation (ISF), by CAC’s resident videographer Kevin O’Donovan. Kevin does an incredible job of bringing CAC’s work to life every year and this film is no different.

    This complete film brings together all five sections of previously released clips. These clips come together to provide an overview of Coaches Across Continents, our Self-Directed Learning model and four aspects of our core curriculum: Soccer Skills for Life, Soccer for Health and Wellness, Soccer for Gender Equity and Soccer for Conflict Resolution. It is through this model that, since 2008, we have been able to work with 123 implementing partners and impact over 800,000 children, creating social change globally through sport.

    Watch our complete 2015 Documentary, filmed in Cambodia, below:

    The final section was our Soccer for Conflict Resolution model:

    Part 4 focuses on our Soccer for Life Skills module:

    Here was part 3, focusing on our Soccer for Health and Wellness module:

    In case you missed it, here is part 2 focused on our Soccer for Gender Equity module:

    And part 1 focused on our Self-Directed Learning model:

  • Part 5 of the Brand New CAC Documentary

    March 31st 2015. CAC is pleased to present the 5th and final part of our new 2015 documentary. We will release the full feature film soon. The documentary was filmed in Cambodia in August 2014 with our inspirational partners there, IndoChina Starfish Foundation (ISF), by CAC’s resident videographer Kevin O’Donovan. Kevin does an incredible job of bringing CAC’s work to life every year and this film is no different.

    In the fifth installment below, we focus on our Soccer For Conflict Resolution module. In this module we use sport to address harmful stereotypes which can divide communities and lead to conflict. You can also see how children and youth who have various physical and mental disabilities can be integrated into society using sport. At every Coaches Across Continents program we ask every participant to challenge divisions which exist in their communities and encourage communication over violence.

    Watch the final installment below today and stay tuned for the release of the full combined documentary very soon!

    Last week we released part 4 which focuses on our soccer for life skills module:

    Here was part 3, focused on our soccer for health and wellness module:

    In case you missed it, here is part 2 focused on our soccer for female empowerment module:

    And part 1 focused on our Self-Directed Learning model:

  • Part 4 of the Brand New CAC Documentary

    March 24th 2015. CAC is pleased to present part 4 of our new 2015 documentary. We have 5 films which are being released in 5 parts before the full feature video is released. The documentary was filmed in Cambodia in August 2014 with our inspirational partners there, IndoChina Starfish Foundation (ISF), by CAC’s resident videographer Kevin O’Donovan. Kevin does an incredible job of bringing CAC’s work to life every year and this film is no different.

    In the fourth installment below, we focus on our Soccer For Life Skills module. In this module our games cover using soccer to create a safe space where social issues can be discussed and giving local participants the confidence to use their voice and challenge culture and tradition. During our program we witness transformations in the local coaches’ attitude, knowledge, skills and confidence. There are also a number of inspiring answers to the #WhenIGrowUp question.

    Watch the new video below today and stay tuned for the final installment very soon!

    Here was part 3, focused on our soccer for health and wellness module:

    In case you missed it, here is part 2 focused on our soccer for female empowerment module:

    And part 1 focused on our Self-Directed Learning model: