• Not About the Ball

    August 21st, 2018. Community Impact Coach, Robelyn Villas, writes about the experience of working with Coaches Across Continents On-Field in the Philippines with CAC Community Partner, Gawad Kalinga, after the already exciting adventure of the FIFA Football for Hope Festival in Russia this Summer of 2018 in partnership with the World Cup! 

    To have another journey after becoming part of the Philippine delegation for Russia (FIFA Football For Hope Festival) was unanticipated until Coaches Across Continents selected me to be part of their training seminar, both as a participant and a facilitator.

    It was on July 28 when my colleague Coach John Paul and I, Coach Robelyn Villas, joined CAC Coaches Charlie and volunteer coach, Patty, in Giussepe F.C. – Campo, Cebu to be one of their participants. It was a two-day affair and we immediately jumped into their football drills and sessions. Among the sessions that we participated in were the Children’s Packet drill which promotes intercultural cooperation.

    The drills in Cebu that I participated in were also a chance for us to share and learn in teaching football as a social development platform, also as a tool to engage individuals in social issues arising from their localities and help them understand how to approach those issues.

    After the weekend seminar in Cebu City (July 28-29), we headed to Sagay City in Negros Occidental to join Coach Charlie and CAC as team-members in their 5-day seminar titled: “COACHES ACROSS CONTINENTS – Global Leaders in Sports for Social Impact.” For almost a  week (July 30-August 3), JP and I, led activities for the participants who were teachers, government employees and humanitarian volunteers from Gawad Kalinga’s SipaG Football Club.

    The activity that captivated me the most was a HIV and Sexual Health drill. The aim is to spread sexual health awareness among the participants since the growth rate in the Philippines for HIV is very alarming. The continuous widespread of HIV in our country should be taken seriously.

    It’s not just the drills and activities that inspired me so much during the CAC seminar, but also the wonderful city of Sagay, Negros Occidental wherein CAC held it’s event. The calm and pleasant ambience of the city is relaxing and so comfortable that it made you want to live there.

    Besides experiencing the tranquil ambience in Sagay, we were also able to witness one AFC (Asian Football Confederation) match in Bacolod City. The match was between top football clubs from their respective leagues, Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines and Home United of Singapore. It was great to witness this kind of match among the top clubs in Southeast Asia, especially seeing it personally. The match ended with a draw (1-1).

    Overall, Coaches Across Continents helped me enhance my skills as a coach and I was able to have a fantastic opportunity to participate and facilitate drills that tackle social awareness and development. The 7 day seminar also guided me to become a more responsible coach and mentor. Teaching football shouldn’t only be about kicking the ball, but also instilling social responsibilities for us to be the catalyst of positive social change through Education Outside the Classroom.

  • Walang Iwanan (Leave no one) Hua!

     September 29th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Prateek, writes about the experience provided by Coaches Across Continents during his week in Manila, Philippines with Gawad Kalinga. 

    After a much needed break in Bohol, Charlie and I were back at Manila for a week long on-field session with Gawad Kalinga. The training was supported by the city mayor and the local department of education, the majority of the participants were community coaches of GK and public school teachers from the Manila area. Since none of the coaches had experienced the CAC training before, it was exciting to work with Charlie in delivering the sessions. I remember the first time I took part in the CAC training, during my first day I was a bit skeptical about the training, but on the second day I was convinced that the sports for social impact methodology would be very beneficial for our communities. Likewise, I got to see that awe in the face of the participants as the trainings proceeded.

    The traffic in Manila was one of the worst that I have notice, nonetheless we managed to be on time every morning.The training was held at indoor basketball court, where there were around 35 participants. The training was a bit different from the first two weeks as there were a mix groups of teachers and coaches that attended. After every training Kevin our host in Manila would treat us to the best food that Manila could offer.

    One of the highlights during this programme was talking to Coach June, who had travelled from a conflict stricken province of Marawi, hearing his story of his work inspired me on how sports can be used to bring communities together. He was working with rebels and law enforcers using sports to manage the conflict in his city. After getting familiar with the CAC games, Coach June was full of enthusiasm on applying the games with his children in his hometown. He has planned an event which would include games from CAC to be played at his hometown.

    During my three weeks of stay in Philippines, I have really enhanced my coaching skills. This was my first time coaching a group of adults and even more exciting my first time coaching in a foreign country. My confidence level has grown enormously. I really want to thank CAC and specifically thank Charlie for this wonderful opportunity. I now can go back home and start training the teachers and youth coach on being self-directed coaches.

  • My CAC Experience

    September 27th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, John Rex Acuin from Football for Life, reflects on week with FundLife in Cebu, Philippines with Giuseppe F.C.

    When I was asked to join Coaches Charlie and Prateek to deliver the seminar in Cebu, not as a participant but as an assistant coach, I was so shocked but got very excited as well. I thought that this would really test whether I had learned from the seminar we just had.

    I left Friday night: Tacloban-Ormoc 7pm-9:30pm, Ormoc-Cebu 12midnight-7am. I arrived at Cebu Carmen around 7am and rode another van to the main city. I got in the venue at 11am, and I was 1 hour late. In short, it was a long journey to get there, but like the quote says, “It’s better late than never”.

    I had mixed emotions when I got to the venue. I was happy because there were a lot of participants, and at the same time, I was shocked because almost all the participants were older than me. Coach Charlie introduced me, and it felt good to be welcomed and introduced as one of the facilitating coaches and not as a participant. We then proceeded to the training. I just assisted them in the morning, but in the afternoon, Coach Charlie and Coach Prateek asked me to choose one drill to facilitate on my own. I got very nervous at first because I was coaching coaches that are older and positioned higher than me. But Coaches Charlie and Prateek helped me overcome those nerves. Truly, you will see how professionals they are, especially in delivering and interacting with different types of coaches. I coached the drill called Gazza Support System that focuses on different vices that can be acquired in the communities, like Alcohol Drinking, and two other drills – ‘Can Ballack see HIV?’ and ‘Ballack Goes to Goal’ – which both teaches about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

    Coaches Across Continents really helped me a lot as a coach. They gave me more ideas on how I can conduct my drills and sessions. I also got the chance to share my knowledge and experiences to others. Most importantly, the whole CAC experience gave me another perspective in football – that football is not just a game but could be also a tool to teach children social issues occurring in their community and help them easily understand even the most complicated issues. Football can be a way of molding little minds to be better people. And, as coaches, we can be instruments of change to these children and their communities. Overall, it’s really a great and fruitful experience, and I would never say no to other opportunities like this. As I am already working with FundLife as a Football for Life coach, I can definitely use this experience to improve my performance as a coach. CAC’s work can greatly support our work here in Tacloban.

  • Fun In The Sun

    September 8th 2017. CAC Community Impact Coach Prateek Syangden, from Childreach Nepal, blogs from the Philippines where we are working with Gawad Kalinga

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is “the global leaders in sports for social impact”. There are very few organizations that live up to their name, and I would say that CAC has lived up to their name and their game as the global leaders in sports for social impact. I have had the privilege to be associated with CAC for more than four years. In these four years CAC has helped Childreach to be recognized as a leading organization in Nepal that uses the sports for social impact methodology, which has enabled us to reach out to thousands of children in Nepal.

    On the 18th of August I left Nepal for the Philippines, to be a part of the Community Impact Coach program. The next three weeks I would assist CAC Self-Directed Learning strategist Charlie Crawford to run on field programs in three different places and working with different organization in the Philippines. Our first week training was with Gawad Kalinga, a local NGO that uses football as tool to improve the lives of youths and children. We traveled to a small city called Tacloban which was about an hour flight from the capital of Manila. We were warmly greeted by Dennis and Bart who works with GK. The next day we arrived at the AFC village, built jointly by Gawad Kalinga and the Asian Football Confederation after the Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda in the local language. Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines. The GK village is home to more than 200 families. This reminded me of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal where more than 8,000 people lost their lives. Looking at the work that the AFC was able to do I could imagine the possibilities for the AFC collaborating with a local Nepalese NGO or government bodies to build a similar village for the survivors of the earthquake. The GK/AFC village also provides a safe playing space for the children (football pitch), where we would be working with the local coaches for the next five days.

    The majority of the coaches attending the program were from the long-term partners of CAC, Football4Life. Coming from Nepal a big challenge was the heat and humidity, I started having skin problems from the second day, but that didn’t stop me from being on the field with Charlie. Two things in common with Nepal and Philippines, we are never on time and we eat a lot of rice. The coaches who were late would brag about the Filipino time, something we would do if we were late. The next two weeks will take us to Cebu and Manila, which I am looking forward to.


  • CAC at AFC-EPL Social Development Conference

    July 20, 2017.  CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz is on a panel focusing on Female Engagement at the AFC – Premier League Football Social Development Conference 2017 in Hong Kong this week.  Questions are expected to focus on our involvement with the AFC as their official legacy partner with work currently occurring in Nepal and the Philippines.

    This bi-annual event, put on by Coaches Across Continents’ partner the Asian Football Confederation, will be attended by approximately 250 people.  Speakers include representatives from the English Premier League teams, various AFC Football Associations, and NGOs such as Coaches Across Continents.  Also being presented will be the AFC Dream Asia Awards 2017.

    Other speakers on the Female Engagement panel include Vicky Jepson (Liverpool FC Ladies), Chan Yuen Ting (Eastern Sports Club Coach), Bai Lili (AFC Head of Women’s Football Development), Shafic Gawhari (Moby Group – Afghanistan), and Betty Wong (Head Coach of Hong Kong Women’s National Team).

  • On Martabak and Football

    May 10th 2016. Community Impact Coach Patrina Caceres, from our partners Football for Life in the Philippines, discussed working with CAC and Uni Papua in Indonesia.

    Last February, when I learned from my supervisor at the Football for Life (F4L) program that I have been assigned for a coaching stint as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) in Jakarta by Coaches Across Continents (CAC), I was at a loss for words.  I almost screamed at the coffee shop and tears collected in my eyes.  That was the best news that I have received since starting as a football for social impact coach in 2014.  Fast forward to April. With the first two weeks spent organizing with FundLife International (Football for Life’s mother organization) and participating in a third-year CAC seminar in Tacloban City from the 6th to the 9th and leading a second-year CAC seminar in Baybay City on the 11th to the 14th, I only had little time to pack my bags for the trip to Manila-Singapore-Jakarta on the 16th, which was no problem, because I’m a light packer.

    Charlie Crawford (team leader for the Philippines – Tacloban and Baybay – seminars) who was also going to lead the Indonesia trainings, flew to Manila with me in the morning of the sixteenth but we had different airlines for the Manila-Jakarta trip.  I was flying solo to a foreign country, something that made me anxious a bit.  Good thing that I had a book with me which made me feel comfortable in my trip.  Despite the delay of arrival in Singapore and an almost closed gate for my Singapore-Jakarta flight, the plane ride to Jakarta was without any other hassle.  Arriving in Jakarta, I was expecting a welcome committee when I went out of the terminal.  But nobody from Uni Papua, the partner organization of CAC, was there.

    Finding myself alone in a foreign country made me nervous so I went back inside the airport to breathe and think of a solution to solve my problem.  I asked which terminal the other international airlines landed.  “Terminal two”, the kind airport lady told me, so I jumped inside a shuttle bus to terminal two.  And indeed, there they were, Maria and Andi, the welcome committee, I tapped their back and introduced myself.  They were quite embarrassed that they didn’t know that I was going to land in terminal three.  “No harm done”, I told them.  And “Charlie ought to be proud of me, because I solved my problem by asking the right questions”.  Jon Eisen, a CAC volunteer from the United States arrived next.  The CAC Indonesia team was completed upon Charlie’s arrival at the airport.  My first impressions of people, places and things are almost always accurate, that’s the intuitive side to my personality.  I thought to myself that Charlie, Jon and I will click and make a great team, that I will learn a lot from the partner organization and that I will fall in love with Jakarta.

    The CAC training would begin on the Monday.  Having our Sunday free, we met with the Uni Papua Founder, Mr. Harry Widjaja, a gracious and generous man, who took us out for a meal in a fancy café, talked to us about the social football organization then he tagged us along to watch a movie, VIP style.  First day of the training, April 18th, was spent with introductions and curious eyes on me, being the only female coach on the CAC team, and one of only two females present that time.  From that moment, I had a mission, of challenging every participant’s views on gender, equality and society.  We started the training with the famous Circle of Friends then more games that taught about health and wellness, gender equality and fun were played.  The end of the first day training saw us tired, so Charlie introduced us to martabak manis, his most favorite dessert in the world.  Tasting it was sensational – though it simply looks like pancake, it’s not just pancake.  It is martabak manis.  It has become my most favorite dessert too. Martabak manis has mostly been a part of our evening routine except Wednesday of the Jakarta week.

    On the second day of training, I led Solo Skills for Life, a game that teaches the basic goalkeeping throws. I emphasized to the participants to use their voice while doing the skills.  This would ensure that the skill will be mastered and at the same time, participants will be confident to use their voice, and with seminars like this, CAC aims to develop community leaders who would be able to adapt and teach the games according to the needs of their community.  The highlight of the third day of the training for me was one of the ASK for Choice Curriculum Games called Brazil for Attitudes, it’s a game were participants are asked to do things “like a girl” or “like a boy”.  It was fun watching full-grown men goof around, but at the same time, made me wonder why they were running, skipping, dancing, hopping or what-not in a silly manner when I told them to do things “like a girl”.  When I huddled them and discussed the social impact of the game, I asked whether they see female athletes move the way they did during the game and how the girls and women in their life would react to the thought of doing things like a girl as a form of weakness.  That’s when they realized that the stereotypes that they have of women must be challenged.

    The fourth day of the training mostly featured Child’s Rights Games and a Child’s Rights Talk near the end.  During the child’s rights talk near the end of the day, experiences growing up as a child in Indonesia were shared, and how they have a common belief that the negative aspects that they went through should not be experienced by any child.  It was a rather serious and emotional talk that we needed to have a breather after.  The break from the seriousness was the most fun part of the day.  We played Scary Soccer, a live rock-paper-scissors kind-of-game, featuring moves for goalkeeper, striker and midfielder.  The youngest participant of the day was a twelve-year-old boy who was never tagged in the progression of the game, where the team that loses are chased by the winning team and once they’re tagged, they join the other team.  Talk about how an empowered child who doesn’t get tagged at scary soccer wins at life!

    Day five was coach-backs, where participants go into pairs and choose a game from a list of the games taught for the entire week and they coach the game back.  The coach-participants were very creative at modifying and making the games their own and that’s exactly what we want, that they be comfortable enough to teach the games the way they deem necessary.  What was most impressive, was the three youngest participants, teenage boys of 12, 13 and 15 who coached “Old Trafford Tag” as a group and how they transformed from the shy and quiet kids to “coaches” saying the instructions and explaining the social messages after the game was played.  These three kids have a potential at coaching too, seeing them step up made me hopeful at the bright future there is for Indonesian football for social impact.

    And oh, going back to my first impressions… They were right.  Charlie, Jon and I have forged friendships along with the Uni Papua Salatiga coaches with whom we lived with at the Our Daily Bread Office guesthouse, caring Maria who always made sure that our needs were met, like tea that makes me burp a lot, thus the nickname “Burpie”, helpful Andi and his funny giggle, energetic Yan and his very delicious Papuan’s pizza.  I have learned a lot from Mr. Harry about the organization through the success tips talk we had over lunch before I left Jakarta.  And yes, I have fallen in love with Jakarta, because of the food and because of the participants of the training.  What better way to fall in love with a place than because of the food and the people.

    Martabak 2