• Unleashing Joy

    CAC continue our #PlayItForward partnership with Chevrolet FC and Manchester United in Yunnan Province, China.

    December 14, 2015.  Do you remember where you were the first time you ever played football?  For many of the kids at the Huo Shan School in Yunnan Province, China, they can answer positively that their first footballing experience came this past week.  As part of our continuing award-winning relationship with Chevrolet FC and their #PlayItForward initiative, we have been working at the Huo Shan school.

    As experienced as Coaches Across Continents has become in our past 8 years of sport for social impact education, it is extremely rare that we come across a community that has little background in football.  Towards the end of the first day after playing Circle of Friends and teaching passing skills, we set up small-sided scrimmages.  For the first three minutes, not one player moved from their starting position, as they kicked the ball back and forth.  Then, a light bulb went off – and a few players began chasing the ball, screaming with delight as they did so.  It wasn’t long before we had a critical mass surrounding the ball, wherever it went on the school grounds, during their first-ever game of football.

    Day 2 brought new revelations.  As we walked inside the school gate, we could see kids practicing without their teachers the passing techniques they had learned the day before, smiling all the time, as they got better.  When it came time to scrimmage, many of them came up with their own strategies on how to win the game.  The most effective were the teams that elected to field three goalkeepers and two outfield players.  Slowly and surely throughout the week, we continued to teach them more football skills and fill them in on a few rules – but making sure not to over-regulate their nascent love of the game.

    Friday was the highlight of the week.  In front of over five hundred community members, dance troops, a Chinese dragon, and the watchful eye of Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke and other dignitaries, the kids got a chance to play for the first time on their brand-new world-class field.  The handover from Chevrolet FC to the Huo Shan School provided a platform for them to show everyone how much fun they were having, and learning, by playing.  With this new facility, these students will have a place to pursue their love of the game.

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  • Beautiful Mountains, Beautiful People, Beautiful Game

    July 15th 2015. Volunteer coach Mike Mazzullo, from New York City, joins fellow Columbia University ’12 alum Nora Dooley on-field in South Africa and Malawi. He writes here about our recent training near Cape Town:

    The first sign that I’m a visitor to South Africa: it’s hard to stop looking out the window. There is no shortage of natural beauty. Landscapes of mountain and vineyards and ocean surprise the eyes at every turn. People buzz alongside highways, walking to work, selling wares, looking for a hitch-hike, and perilously crossing major roads. Different communities pass by, some idyllic, some not.

    Each morning I’m sobered by the disparity between living conditions for the wealthy and the poor. It is hard to overestimate the gap between townships and suburban enclaves. I think of the homeless on Park Ave. Such inequality just doesn’t feel right.

    We arrive in Khayelitsha, the location of CAC’s 2nd-year program for the Western Cape. Cars full of participants arrive and filter into the gym that is our home for the week. Good-bye to any sadness from the morning ride’s sights. Five minutes with the participants fill that space with hope and laughter.

    The participants are a mixture of local community leaders and coaches. training4changeS, the implementing partner, brings their crew of seven coaches. Girls and Football SA brings four, all female. Dumi represents City Mission. There are many others, each with his or her own story and sense of purpose.

    Every day a participant’s story floors me. Take Keke’s. His experience is all too common.

    We are united by the idea that soccer can be a force for positive change in the world around us.

    And the participants brought, along with their enthusiasm and football skills and jokes, problems from their communities. Let me talk about one.
    …………………………..
    Gang violence recurred throughout the week. People spoke of the allure of gangs in offering economic opportunity, how gangs can become a family for those who have none, and how gangs entrap children at a young age. These conversations carried glazed looks, suggesting firsthand exposure. It didn’t take me long to notice graffiti of “28” and “26” – prominent local gangs – marking some buildings and traffic signs.

    …How can soccer deal with such an issue?

    I forgot to mention Nora Dooley. She’s CAC staff leading the program, and happens to be awesome. Nora coached the game called “Say No to Gang Violence”. CAC had originally designed the game to confront human trafficking in Indonesia.

    The set-up is simple. Each corner of the field (or gym) has a coned square box. These will represent what happens when you are “stuck” in gangs. Group discussion identifies the effects of gangsterism. It could be violence, theft, drug abuse, whatever the group thinks.

    Next, the discussion moves to how gangs attract youth in the first place. Three “taggers”-people holding cones- represent the methods of entrapment. It could be involving kids in petty crime, the legacy of an older sibling’s involvement, financial reward and social status, whatever the group thinks.

    The game is for the “taggers” to catch everyone else and send them to the boxes, which represent the harmful effects of gangsterism. It’s a pretty powerful image.

    Next we talk solutions. Are there safe spaces, ways out of gangs, strategies for avoiding them in the first place? Lots of conversation and ideas.

    Nora introduces cones and soccer balls as symbols of safe spaces/deterrents/escape routes – you can’t get tagged if you have the ball. Share the round thing and help others! It’s another powerful image, that football can save youth.

    The game continues with more progressions, further confronting the main question of: What can we do about it? Ultimately the coaches and local organizations will decide.
    ………………

    One of the t4c coaches, Sylvester, imparted an African proverb:”If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

    I think the mingling of various groups will have a long-term return. In any field – business, education, sport or whatever – ideas stale. One benefit of a CAC program is the ability to bring diverse people together.

    Even nonprofits can succumb to one-mindedness, but these organizations of the Western Cape saw each other as partners and allies. The biggest divisions in Khayelitsha emerged over Man Utd vs Arsenal, Kaizer Chiefs vs. Orlando Pirates, Ronaldo vs. Messi.

    And on the car ride back to Stellenbosch, again seeing the gamut of natural beauty and human experience, I thought less about passing strangers and more about the CAC participants.

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  • Next Stop: South Africa – CAC and Chevrolet Take 3

    September 25th, 2014. Fresh off the plane from Cambodia, CAC Founder Nick Gates and Senior Staff member Nora Dooley returned to South Africa for our third program in partnership with Chevrolet. The first two took place earlier this year in Bandung, Indonesia, and Chicago, USA, whereas this one was run in a community called Hammanskraal, north of the capital city, Pretoria.

    For the first four days of this Chevrolet FC training our team worked in tandem with the South African Football Association (SAFA) who led a D-License course for the 37 ESSP (Extra Support Sport Program) leaders from 17 schools around the Hammanskraal area. This was an introductory level course into coaching football and had a particular focus on life skills. Naturally CAC took the reigns when it came to the On-Field instruction, training these leaders in how to use sport to educate children on important social issues and to develop crucial life skills.

    For the following five days our staff went deeper with the ESSP teachers and taught them a total of 47 games that they can use with their students. We worked through many different modules of our social impact curriculum including games from our standard Skills for Life, Conflict Resolution, Health & Wellness, and Gender Equity themes as well as those about Financial Literacy, Female Empowerment, and HIV behavior change.

    One game that had a particularly positive impact was renamed Hammanskraal Social Squares to best suit the needs of the group. In this game we divided the group into four teams and had them each stand in one square marked out at each corner of a larger square. We asked each group to think of the most challenging problem facing their community and they came up with poverty, unemployment, corruption, and teenage pregnancy. Then we played the game. When we shouted two of those words, the two teams representing those words had to switch places as fast as possible. Once they got the hang of the rules, we added more challenges such as a ball that every player had to touch before the team arrived at the new square. Then we asked the groups to come up with a new word. This time they had to think of one word that could be a solution to the problem they already thought of. The groups came up with job creation, education, new leadership, and good choices. To make the game more challenging we adjusted the rules so that the squares represented the solutions and the teams had to remember what each square signified. This was a great game for us to play early on in the training in order to start the important conversations about social issues in the community and beyond. The game led to some great discussions on topics such as education and how to beat corruption.

    On the final day of the training the coaches organized a festival for local students in order to complete their SAFA D-License. Without any instruction from our team on what games to play with the children, the coaches chose all CAC games and absolutely blew us away with the success of the day. After the festival players were telling us what they learned from the ESSP coaches and brought up lessons like how to avoid peer pressure, the importance of education, gender equality, and solving problems without violence. We were beyond impressed. The transformation that these 37 coaches – 22 women and 15 men – went through over the course of the 10 days was phenomenal.

    The final day of the program was the big event where everyone came together at one of the local schools for the big Chevrolet tournament. Manchester United legend Gary Bailey, a native of South Africa, joined the team as well as an all-star crew from our partners at One World Futbol Project (OWFP). The OWFP Founders revealed the donation of the 1,000,000th football in a very special ceremony. The day was a huge success with 17 girls teams from all the schools where our newly trained ESSP Social Impact coaches teach. They competed in small-sided games and the players who demonstrated the most positive attitudes and best sportsmanship were awarded with the opportunity to play in a final match with 2 players from every team.

    As the theme for the training was centered on Female Empowerment, this was an incredible way to end the program with so many girls enjoying the beautiful game and their 37 coaches (22 being women) supporting them through it all. We were also honored by the presence of a team of grandmothers called Rekone Gogos FC who train 6 days a week at a nearby field, coached by 2 of the male ESSP coaches. They were the best fans of all and added an extra layer of excitement to an already empowered program.

    Stay tuned to see what’s next for our partnership with Chevrolet and Manchester United.

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  • Congratulations to our partner One World Futbol

    One World Futbol with Coaches Across Continents

    June 3rd, 2012:  Coaches Across Continents is delighted to announce this partnership between Chevrolet and One World Futbol.

    Chevrolet Celebrates Future of Football Through Partnership with One World Futbol Project

    • One World Futbol Project provides ‘virtually indestructible’ footballs to impoverished regions worldwide
    • Chevrolet pledges 1.5 million footballs as part of three-year agreement

    DETROIT – Chevrolet announced today a three-year partnership with the One World Futbol Project, an award-winning B-Corporation and creators of the One World Futbol that will result in 1.5 million virtually indestructible footballs being donated to youth in war-stricken zones, refugee camps, disaster areas, and other disadvantaged communities around the world.

    Chevrolet’s pledge will be executed through a global network of organizations dedicated to helping empower the next generation of footballers.

    “The One World Futbol Project celebrates a primary value that is very close to Chevrolet, that football can touch lives and bring positive change throughout the world,” said  General Motors Global Chief Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick. “We’re excited to support the One World Futbol Project’s mission to rally millions throughout the world to join in this effort and create a global movement for the good of the game and people who are passionate about it.”

    Chevrolet becomes the founding sponsor of the organization, which was established in 2010 due in part to support from world-renowned musician Sting. Chevrolet’s support is part of a companywide global football initiative that includes sponsorship of Barclays Premier League giants Manchester United.

    Coaches Across Continents with One World Futbol in Namibia.

    “In Chevrolet we have a partner that has shown a passion and true appreciation of football’s power to effect positive change,” said Manchester United’s Chief Executive and Chairman of the Manchester United Foundation, David Gill. “Inspiring young people through education and activity stands at the heart of our Manchester United Foundation and we wholeheartedly endorse Chevrolet’s initiative with the One World Futbol Project.”

    Since its inception, the One World Futbol Project has positively affected more than 525,000 lives in 137 countries through more than 138 organizations – including schools, orphanages, and nonprofits – which use sport to resolve conflicts, teach tolerance, and build communities. The company is also an affiliate member of streetfootballnetwork, which connects 94 football-for-social change non-profits in 61 countries.

    One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen, also an accomplished lyricist, was inspired to start the project after watching CNN footage of kids in Darfur playing a football game using a ball of trash tied up with twine. Jahnigen decided to create a ball that would play like a real football but would not be destroyed by the harsh conditions often facing footballers in some parts of the world.

    “Our mission at the One World Futbol Project is to make a meaningful impact by bringing the joy of football and play to youth around the world so that children can be children no matter where they live,” said Jahnigen, co-founder and chief innovation officer at the One World Futbol Project. “Chevrolet is an ideal partner who shares our belief that football can not only bring people together through the excitement of the game, but can also help heal and rebuild communities impacted by war, disasters and poverty. Through this partnership, we can truly influence millions more lives with the simple power of a durable ball.”

    The One World Futbol Project and ball were inspired by Sting’s song “One World (Not Three).” The development of the ball required 11 months of prototyping and field testing in Africa, Haiti, Iraq and elsewhere. The One World Futbol Project works with organizations and companies all around the world who purchase, sponsor and/or distribute the One World Futbol where it can support lasting play.

    Coaches Across Continents with One World Futbol in Tanzania

    Individuals can also purchase a One World Futbol through a “Buy One Give One” program on the One World Futbol Project website, The purchase of a ball triggers the donation of another ball to organizations working in disadvantaged communities around the world, such as Coaches Across Continents, GOALS Haiti, Right to Play International and Save the Children among others. Those wishing to make donations only or purchase balls for their organization can also do so through the Project website.

    A One World Futbol can outlast and outplay hundreds of regular balls, sustaining play in any environment. The ball never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured multiple times. The One World Futbol can withstand years of use on all types of terrain such as concrete, blacktops, dirt, rocky field or grass and endure harsh conditions without deflating.

    While designed to have the same size, weight and rebound characteristics of a traditional inflated football, the One World Futbol requires no stitching. The material used to make the ball is inert (non-toxic, doesn’t leach) and is extremely rugged. The durability of the One World Futbol helps meet a significant global environmental chal­lenge by eliminating the waste of discard­ed, punctured soccer balls.

    On behalf of this partnership, One World Futbol founder, Tim Jahnigen and Sting appear together in a PSA produced by @radical.media, which will be distributed globally and prominently featured in the Sting 25 iPad App. Please visit www.ChevroletFC.com to join Chevrolet’s efforts and donate a One World Futbol to an area of the world that is in need.

    About Chevrolet

    Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

    About the One World Futbol Project

    Launched in July 2010, the One World Futbol Project developed the One World Futbol—the world’s first virtually-indestructible soccer ball that never needs a pump and never goes flat, even when punctured. For every ball bought at retail, the company donates a second ball to a community in need. The company also sells the One World Futbol directly to institutions and organizations, and works with schools, soccer teams, clubs and other organizations to help them raise funds while generating donated soccer balls at the same time.  The One World Futbol Project is headquartered in Berkeley, California.  To date, the One World Futbol has reached more than 137 countries through at least 138 organizations, keeping the spirit of play alive for an estimated 525,000 children and young people. For more information about the One World Futbol Project, visit www.oneworldfutbol.com.  Follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/OneWorldFutbol and Twitter, www.twitter.com/oneworldfutbol.

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    CONTACT :

    Pat Morrissey Tom Henderson
    Chevrolet Communications Chevrolet Communications
    313-407-4548 313-410-2704
    Dana Young Jenn Hwang
    One World Futbol Project One World Futbol Project
    415-378-7998 415-420-3259