• A Week to Remember

    December 5, 2014. Volunteer Coach, Keren Lavi, from Israel partner, Mifalot, joins CAC On-Field in Iringa, Tanzania and write about her first experience with CAC outside of her country. 

    I always knew my first time to Africa would have to be an unforgettable one, after traveling around 3 continents “IT’S TIME FOR AFRICA”.  I arrived to a motel in Dar es Salaam where I waited for Nico (CAC’s local partner and first ever Community Impact Coach) to pick me up for an amazing field week at the new ‘Football for Hope Center’ in Iringa. The morning we left to the bus I happen to fall down the stairs with my suitcase and twist my ankle! How am I going to get through this week now?! I stood up and walked with Nico to the bus, I was ok. The bus station was full with people and buses, I have no idea how he found the right bus but I guess every country has its own order they follow. We get to the bus and Nico goes down to find a cold water bottle for my ankle, after a few seconds I realize the bus starts to leave with no sign for Nico! “Nico, where is Nico” I shout in the bus, the bus has already left the station, I get to the driver “please stop! Nico is missing!” as if he knows who is Nico and that this is my first time in Africa and I have no idea where and how to get to the place I am supposed to get to. The bus driver stopped on the side road, meanwhile I start to panic and cry having no idea what to do. After 5 minutes of total panic Nico arrives hitchhiking on a motorcycle sweating with a cold water bottle in his hand!

    I started my visit at the peak which only continued to climb higher and higher. I met Kelly and Marcus, CAC’s team, when we arrived to Iringa – both seem to be born to the field of football for social impact! I was honored to see them coach and to coach with them! They immediately made me feel part of the team and I am thankful for that! As I already mentioned Nico took great care of me, I must say he is the best local partner an organization could ask for, not only does he organize the coaching seminars and talks to all local partners he is an inspiring coach and person that really connects with CAC’s vision! Working with such awesome people this week was a real treat! The local coaches we met were all part of Iringa Development of Youth, Disabled and Children Care (IDYDC) which hosts the FIFA Football for Hope Center. We had a week full of games, laughs, serious talks, coach-backs, and dancing mingle mingle at any chance of the day! One of the most memorable parts for me was having kids around the field almost 24/7! They will not leave the place till it was dark! It is amazing to see how a football field becomes the center of a community and the safest place for kids to play. I am loaded with energy to get back to my organization in Israel –

    My name is Keren Lavi and I work for Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises which is an NGO located in Israel. We also work globally in order to create social change via the football field. After training with CAC twice in Israel it was my time to join them in another country in order to learn and feel the work CAC does across the continents… My role at Mifalot is to develop the international programs. We provide educational curriculums and share our best practices, this is why partnering with CAC in order to exchange knowledge about football for social change is not only a privilege but an opportunity to grow and spread the love we share to the game and to the impact it can have on people all around the world. Mifalot share with CAC this vision and I can only hope for both organizations to keep growing and touch many coaches around the world.




  • SDL in Israel

    October 28, 2014. Coaches Across Continents develops self-directed learners through sport. We want to create critical thinkers who are able to construct solutions to local problems. We encourage people to question tradition, culture, history, and religion so that may understand why there are certain problems and how solutions to these problems can be constructed and implemented.

    For the past 5,000 years various groups, religions, and nations have controlled the country now known as Israel. Within its borders there are conflicting ideologies, religious influences, and historical precedents. It is not possible to understand all the factors that comprise Israel in just one short week. But hopefully by working with great local partners and coaches we can help them to have the skills to deal with these issues in the best way possible.

    This past week CAC worked with Mifalot. They are a nation-wide organization that impacts 30,000 children using sport. In fact, they also reach out internationally to work with other groups, so their reach continues to grow beyond their borders. This is our second trip to Tel Aviv, but actually we work with them all over this beautiful country, seeing many places and coaches from all walks of life during our week On-Field.

    Our partnership took a big step forward this past year with Mifalot in reaching self-directed learning status. We were able to work with three separate groups of coaches, each with various levels of experience of using sport for social impact. Overseeing everything were three of their senior staff who have also worked (or will work) as coaches with CAC at other partner programs through our CIC program. Earlier this year Tom and Yael traveled for two weeks to Rwanda, and next month Keren will work alongside our team in Tanzania.

    These three coaches help guide Mifalot in curriculum development and implementation. What they have learned abroad is evident when you see their curriculum in action. Many of the their games are based on CAC games, and the theory and methodology looks very similar, albeit with a Mifalot flavor to it. After three days of training their coaches myself, I watched Tom teach a group of new coaches who work with people with special needs. One of the games that he reviewed was Nawal Leadership Lines, something that he and Yael learned in Rwanda.   The ease with which he explained the game shows that our curriculum has been accepted, adapted, and utilized – exactly what we want to see at CAC.

    Ultimately this is the success that we want to see with our partner programs. We want them to be able to choose what their own curriculum looks like, and have the skills to be able to create their own games that teach valuable lessons to the next generation.  This is applied demonstration of self-directed learning. Achieving SDL with local coaches, teachers, and leaders will allow them to come up with their own solutions to issues specific to their own communities. Hopefully it will help the various groups in Israel reach peaceful solutions as conflicts arise.



  • From Israel to Rwanda with CAC

    July 30, 2014.  CAC Volunteer and Community Impact Coach, Tom Marsland from Israeli partner, Mifalot, joined CAC team leader, Nora Dooley, in Rwanda for two weeks of programs. He writes about his experience.  Hi, my name is Tom Marsland, 30 years old from Israel. Between the 6th of July and the 20th, colleague Yael Paz and I went on a delegation to Rwanda.

    Our delegation was on behalf of “Mifalot Education and Society Enterprises”, an Israeli organization which we work for, and our mission objectives were to watch, participate and learn from Coaches Across Continents (CAC) and they’re work with the local organizations on how to further implement the social impact in Mifalot’s work in Israel and around the world.

    The training in Rwanda was arranged by the local organization FHPU – Football for Hope Peace and Unity, headed by Eric Murangwa. FHPU were responsible for organizing the training, scheduling and more. Dream Team Football Academy, based in Kigali, is another organization also supported by Murangwa and his colleagues, and therefore were significant in our journey.

    After a few days of adaptation the training began. Each project took about 15-16 hours spread out over three days. The first project took place in Gisenyi (Rubavu) on Rwanda’s western border and the second project was in Rwamagana in the east. We were expecting the arrival of about 100 trainers in both places altogether but in fact came about 180 (!) coaches and teachers who wanted to learn how to use soccer for social impact and as an educational tool.

    During the training we got to know the coaches and teachers, learned a little about their culture and learned and experienced in depth with them how complex messages, such as gender equality, sexual education etc are becoming simple when you teach them through football. I’m not sure “teach” is the correct word because one thing that amazed me in CAC’s way was how the games vary according to the participants while the message remains the same.

    It was a great experience also off the pitch, visiting the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, the genocide memorial and generally spending the time in a foreign country with the kind guidance of our hosts.  In conclusion, this delegation to Rwanda was so much FUN!!! We want to take the opportunity and thank the CAC members, Nora “dark warrior” Dooley and Markus “Germany took the world cup” Bensch. It was great knowing you guys and we learned a lot from you.

    Coach Tom speaks to his new Rwandan friends

    Coach Tom speaks to his new Rwandan friends

  • CAC Hits Israel

    December 10, 2013.  Nick Gates and Graham Bradford arrived in Israel on 17th of November, mentally and physically refreshed after a full 24 hours on the road travelling from Nagpur, India after a wonderfully successful and enjoyable programme with Slum Soccer.  Perhaps ‘fully refreshed’ may be a slight exaggeration on reflection.  The trip included three flights, the world’s shortest hotel stay (for respectable reasons) with the chaps checking into the hotel in Mumbai at around 2.30 am and taking the early morning alarm call at 4.00 am.  Only just enough time for an evening meal, 14 minutes in bed and a full Indian breakfast.

    israel1Destination Tel Aviv was achieved eventually and in zombie-like condition we were met by the delightful Keren Levi, international Development Manager at Mifalot, our partner organisation for the 5 days ahead.  Mifalot is a Beyond Sport Winner and Street Football World member.  Keren had the dubious pleasure of being our driver, guide, bodyguard, interpreter, historian, X-factor correspondent and theological punching-bag for our time in Israel. She was exceptionally welcoming, helpful, patient, and skilled in most of these roles.  We wish her lots of luck in her driving test – which she should be ready for sometime next summer.

    The setting for our stay on Tel Aviv beachfront was in some contrast to our Indian experience, but it was noted that there was a disappointing absence of sacred cows and tuk-tuks in the street.  We just about coped though.

    israel2The purpose of the week was a departure from a typical program, with Mifalot senior manager Clive Lessem seeking to learn from Nick how Coaches Across Continents’ coaching, business and logistics model operates so successfully around the globe, as Mifalot looks to spread their work beyond Israel.  Mifalot is a well-established secular social development organization, affiliated and funded by Hapoel Tel Aviv FC.  It works across a wide spectrum of communities in Israel, using sport for social development across ethnic, economic, gender, special needs and of course religious divides – of which Israel has a few.

    Mifalot works across Israel and Nick and Graham led or observed sessions with a number Mifalot’s regional teams of full-time and volunteer coaches across the country.  A well-developed national programme of volunteers known as ‘civil service’ provides a healthy supply of coaches to support the core team of full-time staff and Nick and Graham took lively sessions in the north, south and west of Israel, including a highly significant session in the West Bank.  In our nation-wide tour of duty we ran coaching sessions for mixed groups of Jewish, Bedouin, Cicassia and Christian coaches in.

    israel3It was clear that the West Bank session was going to be special.  To Nick and Graham there was a significant level of concern that this might be our last ever coaching session together, whilst there was a certain air of excitement and anticipation within Mifalot’s team of full-time staff and coaches who had worked hard to facilitate it.  The setting was to the west of Jerusalem, the playing field – perhaps surprisingly – was exceptional (and the call to prayer from the minaret immediately adjacent to the field particularly deafening) and the participants a mix of volunteer coaches from the Arabic, Jewish and Bedouin communities, including women – which in the context of the West Bank was a highly significant.  From our point of view the session was not particularly exceptional… it was great fun, there was lots of laughing, noise, enthusiasm and healthy debate – the usual Coaches Across Continents fare.  However, for our hosts the coming together of men and women from these communities was hugely significant, and congratulations should go to Seigi and his local coaching team for all the work it must have taken to bring these together on the field, in learning, laughing and friendship.

    bhe2Historic as the program may have been, there were other highlights which Nick and Graham will take with them from Israel.  These include the food, the food and the food.  Wow.  Quantity and quality is perhaps a rare combination on a Coaches Across Continents Program, but was surely the case here.  Of particular note was the restaurateur in Um El-Fahem who produced a fantastic array of around ten dishes of various salads, humus and flatbreads before four of us, which Nick and Graham hadn’t realized were merely starters, before bringing to the table superb Arabic meat dishes.  We couldn’t praise his food enough, but he was devastated we couldn’t eat it all!  But we knew we were in the land of milk and honey when at breakfast our hotel included the option of trifle, tuna salad and porridge….. Well it would have been rude not to!

    Thanks again to Clive, Keren and their great team of coaches for exceptional hospitality and the opening up of a great future working relationship with CAC.


  • Coaches Across Continents Speak at Beyond Sport!

    photo (1)20th September 2013. Last week Coaches Across Continents’ founder Nick Gates spoke at the Beyond Soccer and Beyond Sport summits in Philadelphia. These summits, now in their 5th year, brought together all the key players in the sport for social impact field. This included our partners such as GOALS Haiti, Play Soccer International, Rumah Cemara, One World Futbol, Women Win, Soccer Without Borders USA, streetfootballworld, Thomson Reuters, Mifalot and UNICEF.

    Nick was invited to speak at a high level Monitoring and Evaluation workshop at the Beyond Soccer summit held at the PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union. He highlighted our innovative WISER reports and their effectiveness at providing us with quantitative and qualitative results. Following this the Beyond Sport summit at LOEWS Hotel, Philadelphia requested his participation in panels discussing curriculum design and model development. During these panels Nick discussed our chance to choice curriculum which uses a Hat-Trick initiative to create sustainable social impact at all of our community partner sites. The conference, which had over 1000 attendees over the 4 days, clearly understood that CAC’s model, curriculum and monitoring and evaluation system is one which should be publicised and emphasised for all organisations working in sport for social impact to learn from.

    Due to CAC’s status in the field we were also able to have representatives participating in other workshops which looked at topics such as sustainability, partnerships, branding and youth violence in urban communities. This led to admiration for our work with Community Impact Coaches who are able to have significant impact on their communities and our partnership with One World Futbol which is key to the sustainability of all or our programs. We were also able to engage and develop our links with UNICEF, Rumah Cemara, GOALS Haiti and Mifalot.

    DikembeMutombo.NickKeller.DonSmolenski.MayorNutter.ChristinaWeissLurie.BrianDawkins.BeyondSport-1024x840The conclusion to the summit was the Beyond Sport awards which included nominations for Rumah Cemara, Soccer Without Borders USA and a great win for Moving the Goalposts Kilifi in the Sport for Health Award category. These awards are particularly important for CAC who won best new project award at the inaugural Beyond Sport 2009. Best new project this year went to Sports for Juvenile Justice a Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative program. We were also able to enjoy talk on key issues from renowned speakers such as Brian Dawkins, David Stern, Dikembe Mutombo, Mayor Michael Nutter, Tim Shriver, Jeffrey Lurie, Will Greenwood, Loretta Claiborne, Tony Sanneh and Governor Ed Rendell.