• Work Hard, Play Hard – Week 2 in Lima, Peru

    November 4, 2014. Volunteer Coach Tomas Torres-Tarver of the One World Futbol family worked with us earlier this year in Colombia and Mexico. He returns to the field for two weeks in Lima, and writes about his experience during the second week of trainings in partnership with UNICEF Peru.

    On Monday October 13th I woke up at 9:15 am, excited to start my second week with Coaches Across Continents in Peru. The first week had gone very well, so I could not wait to see what this week had in store for us. I was excited to meet all the coaches and teachers that were about to take part in this tiring but amazing weeklong course. So I made myself some eggs, grabbed some coffee, and was ready to go alongside Nora, Billy, and Mauro (Community Impact Coach from Colombianitos) to see how this week would pan out.

    When we first arrived at the school we quickly set up and asked the Baseline questions, which help us evaluate how much the participants know about sport for social impact. Then we went to the field and started with Circle of Friends, which is a game that is designed to get participants talking and feeling a little more comfortable with each other. The group started off a little tense probably because they did not know what to expect, but once they saw how we connect the games to real life the group quickly started getting more involved in the conversations.

    One game that had particularly positive impact was the Lines Game. In this game the group is split into two teams and then each team is divided into four groups. Each group on each team is numbered one through four. The two teams line up facing each other standing in lines ordered one through four. When the person leading the game says any two of the four numbers those two lines switch as fast as possible but only with their own team. The first team that gets into its new position wins the round. This goes on multiple times and depending on how fast the group gets the game we start adding new rules like no talking. It was unbelievable how fast this group picked up the game, so we decided to test them: if the person leading the game put up only one number, the two groups with that number would switch across to the other team’s side and this would change the teams. This was one of the best games of the week because it was where the participants really started to understand the idea of this training. To finish the Lines Game we asked the group if they could identify the social message of the game and they said, among other things, communication, problem solving, and working as a team. These were great answers as one of the most important aspects of this game is allowing the players to come up with their own solutions instead of the coach interfering with the problem-solving process. We hope they carry this lesson and coaching style with them into their fields of work, as it is crucial in creating self-directed learners.

    After a great first day, we were invited to stay and practice with the Escuela de Futbol Feminino, a women’s semi-professional futbol team and one of our partner programs in Lima. The girls were awesome and they put us through some of the drills they do on a regular basis, leaving me panting and out of breath by the time I was done. Then we got a chance to play with them in small-sided games, which was a blast. We got to play with these girls three out of the 5 days after our sessions, which was inspiring because in many of these young ladies’ communities they are told that women cannot play futbol. The passion and love for the game that drives these girls to play is truly amazing, and I’m very happy I got a chance to coach and play with these incredible young women.

    During one of the afternoons later in the week we went to see one of the largest impoverished communities of Lima. We went to a school where there were only two teachers working with many children. The work they were doing was amazing, it was like they were the only two people in Lima that knew about this section of the city, or that everyone else had forgotten or didn’t care about this large Brazilian favela-like part of Lima. We shared some of the CAC games with the children, which was difficult for me because I had been left speechless thinking about how a city could just forget about such a large part of its population. We ended the visit at the school with a little futbol match with all the kids. This was a truly moving and humbling experience.

    The last day of the program came so fast, and it was evident that all the participants had really learned and taken to heart the new coaching style we had taught them over the past five days. It is a very good feeling having all these people coming up to us and thanking us for coming to their community and helping them learn how they can have a greater impact with the kids they work with. I couldn’t help but think that I had learned so much from these amazing coaches that really do what they do because of the love they have for their communities, and that passion is an amazing thing to be around. I feel so lucky that I got the opportunity to work with CAC and hope to be with them again in the future to do more of this incredible work.

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  • Buwaya: By Foot, Matatu, Boda-Boda, and a Boat

    April 22, 2014. Our third week in Uganda brings us back for a third year to a remote community on the shores of Lake Victoria. CAC staff members Nora Dooley and Markus Bensch join long-time CAC partner and friend, Godfrey Mugisha (Moogy) for a week-long training in Buwaya.

    P1030476Every morning our coaches embarked on the journey across the lake from Entebbe, which involved walking, chasing down a matatu (large group taxi), clambering into a wooden motor-boat, and hopping on a boda-boda (motorbike taxi). Upon finally reaching their destination, our team was met by a bumpy, yet beautiful grass pitch set above a sprawling green backcountry. As the program participants trickled in from all directions, One World Futbols were scattered about, completing the perfect CAC picture.

    The coaches who joined the training this week are not of the typical CAC breed, but represent everything that CAC stands for – the desire to make an impact in your community. They are not from an existing NGO, they do not have a formal football academy, they are not government or municipal workers, but they are people, passionate people who love a game and want to learn. We cannot possibly ask for more.

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    We had previously visited this community for two years and a few of this year’s participants were part of those trainings as well. Once we got a feel for the dynamic of the group – knowledge, experience, social issues, and the realities of the resources in Buwaya – we were able to steer the focus of the curriculum in the direction of maximum social impact for this particular group, during this particular week, in this particular community.

    Aside from the usual, worldwide favorites like Mingle Mingle and Condom Tag, this group learned tons of football skills during Ronaldo, Wilshere, Xavi, and Wambach Skills for Life, and had an absolute blast with Touré for Health & Wellness and Falcao for Fun. Touré for Health & Wellness is one of our new games that is quickly becoming a CAC fixture. During this game there are two teams lined up in front of identical grids. The grids are made up of four or five cones – in Buwaya we used four bricks (solve your problem!) – and each cone is assigned a number. The coach yells out a sequence of numbers, maybe starting with two and increasing to four or even five at once, and one player from each team has to touch the cones in that exact order as fast as possible, racing the other player to either an additional cone on the other side of the grid or to one football that they race to shoot. This is a brilliant game for agility and quickness of body and mind – a perfect union of football and social impact, not to mention it’s incredibly fun to play as well as to coach.

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    Falcao for Fun is another terrific new game that we ended up playing for an hour with this group… and our CAC staff jumped in – we couldn’t let the participants have that much fun without us! In this game there are two teams lined up by the “posts” or bricks of two goals that are close together. This was a smaller group so we played 2 v. 2 but it can be played 3 v. 3 or 4 v. 4. If one of the teams scores or if the ball crosses the other team’s end-line, then the shooting team stays and two new players come on with the ball from the side that was shot on. This game is FAST and rewards shooting and quick decisions, as the next two players have to be ready with a ball pending a shot from the opposing team. And the group in Buwaya absolutely ate it up – maybe it’s the answer to African football… stop passing/dancing and SHOOT. Who knows?

    After the program our team stayed the night in tents across the lake instead of returning to Entebbe. A fun experience for our staff, but moreover it was a gesture of friendship and gratitude that was deeply appreciated by the entire community. Although this is a third-year program, CAC will be returning to Uganda and will hopefully be able to fit in a quick matatu/boat/boda-boda adventure to pay a visit to our friends in Buwaya.

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  • Corporate Social Impact at work.

    May 30, 2013.  Coaches Across Continents prides itself on our work with corporate partners.  Recently CAC partnered with Chevrolet and the One World Futbol project.  With their generous support, thousands of One World Futbols were introduced into Liberia this year.  Alongside these Futbols we continued our ongoing Coach Education Training through Soccer Ambassadors.  With all these great groups working together in partnership, the impact on local communities is magnified immensely.  Check out this video for the great work!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-U5Tx7Kr6s]

    For more information on our Corporate Social Impact Program please contact

    One World Futbol, Chevrolet, and Coaches Across Continents are teaming up to make an impact in Liberia

    One World Futbol, Chevrolet, and Coaches Across Continents are teaming up to make an impact in Liberia

  • Liberia: A Nation Recovering

    March 25, 2013.  Pappie Jones is well-known in Monrovia, Liberia.  That is because he has been here a long time.  He stayed in Monrovia through the worst of the seventeen years of civil wars, taking refuge at the American compound for three years.  And he is still here, throughout the rebuilding process, coaching football.  Pappie runs a group called Soccer Ambassadors for Christ.  They are a group of 90 boys from ages 4-20 who train with his various teams.

    Three great players turned up for this year's training in Liberia!

    Three great players turned up for this year’s training in Liberia!

    Pappie does not focus solely on their development as players or “partial individuals” as he says it.  His training focuses on helping them to become “complete individuals” by learning about three things: Football, Faith, and Education.  It is because he is focused on the complete person that Coaches Across Continents has partnered with Pappie Jones for the past three years.  At his football practices, you can see how much the boys enjoy being there, sacrificing their few Liberian dollars to cover transport to get there.  In addition to football specific drills, Pappie also incorporates at least one CAC game every practice, and in doing so peppering the players with social impact skills throughout their development into citizens of Liberia.  This tutelage, coupled with the advice and mentorship he is providing allow his boys to see in him a father figure worth emulating.

    Over our three years Pappie has also been instrumental in making sure that many different coaches have had access to the CAC trainings.  He has intentionally moved our trainings each year into different communities, allowing the youth coaches in each area to participate and benefit.  This year we worked in West Point, the poorest slum in Liberia.  This year we worked primarily with Division 3 coaches, who typically train teenage boys.  We also discussed a future plan with FODEDE who will be starting (along with the Liberian Football Association) a girls’ school league.  Many of the coaches we trained will be asked to join the fledgling girls’ school league as coaches.  Finally there were coaches from the YMCA which operates nation-wide.

    Juggles Across Continents with One World Futbol!

    Juggles Across Continents with One World Futbol!

    Also providing a massive assist to this year’s training is One World Futbol.  Together with Chevrolet, they have shipped over 5,000 balls into Liberia with a larger shipment arriving in the coming months.  These balls are virtually indestructible, even on tough African fields.  Together with the CAC curriculum, lasting change can take place in the community as coaches now have the equipment to implement our award winning curriculum and allows for more children to participate with the balls.

    It is because of people like Pappie Jones that you can see progress in Liberia, which was a shell of a country after their civil wars.  Even now the 85% unemployment rate is evident, as is the fact that 80% live below the poverty line (established at $1 USD per day).  But in the few years that our CAC coaches have been visiting, you can see progress of a society slowly moving forward.  It is still very much developing, and leaning on the UN and international community, but it is a country that is proudly moving forward from their conflicted past.  And as they continue to develop, they will continue to need the steady mentorship of people like Pappie to guide them through life.

    Learning today about being a Complete Person

    Learning today about being a Complete Person

  • One World Futbol and Coaches Across Continents Link Up

    March 7, 2013.  Coaches Across Continents have built our programming and partnering network around the basic idea that soccer is the world’s game, it can be used as a powerful teaching tool, and that soccer is the living extension of a community, city, and country.  Soccer serves as the link between people of all backgrounds, colors, religions, and creeds.  Soccer unites us all.   And now Coaches Across Continents has teamed up with One World Futbol who share our same beliefs.  OWF has a ball that never goes flat!  And they have partnered with CAC to ensure that their balls get to our partner sites – but we need your help to make it happen!  Watch the video take action below!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hukJWo9CMXI]

    You can join our collective movement and help us bring a One World Futbol to all of the people in our programs by doing two things:

    1)   “Like” Coaches Across Continents on Facebook. For every “Like” we get on Facebook One World Futbol will donate a ball to a person in our program. And with new programs and people being reached every month, we cant get enough “Like’s”!

    2)   Purchase a One World Futbol and select Coaches Across Continents as the partner organization of your choice.  For every One World Futbol that is purchased another One World Futbol is donated to a community in need through organizations working in disadvantaged communities. We would be proud to be the organization that you choose to help transform a community through the ball that you have purchased.

    Soccer has naturally paved the path for global changes to be possible. By working together we can walk down the path and make the changes positive and sustainable.

  • Coaches Across Continents Releases New Video

    February 27, 2013.  Coaches Across Continents is happy to release our latest video, our 2013 Social Impact Documentary.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCZCNdRt5vc]

    Filmed in Marsabit, Kenya with our partner group Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI), this community is showing how sport can change a community that faces female genital mutilation, girls being sold into marriage, and gun violence.

    It’s fascinating to see the impact of the Coaches Across Continents work from the voices of the local coaches, teachers, and young people.  We get a chance to see first-hand the impact that sport is having on programs like HODI all over the world.

    Nick Gates, Founder, Coaches Across Continents

    Click here to see all the CAC videos on our YouTube channel.