• West Africa 1971 and 2013

    April 5, 2013.  By Earl Strassberger.  I arrived in Ghana at night after 26 hours of travel.  I got a ride to the hostel, so it was not until the next morning when fond memories started to come back to me.  From January 1971 to April 1974 I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia.  This is my first time back to Africa since those days.

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    Coach Earl in action at Play Soccer Ghana

    Before I talk about Cape Coast and Play Soccer Ghana I have to mention what is different and what has not changed.  In the 1970s there was no Internet, no cell phones, next to no TV sets, and bottled water was not everywhere.  We carried iodine tablets and a canteen.  What has not changed is that the food is outstanding.  Banku is new to me, umm-umm! The pineapple is amazing.  The other CAC coaches are laughing with me because I take pictures of all the good food.  My friends at home wish they could taste it.  In addition the people are still so friendly.  You walk by a taxi stand and every driver and their helpers call out to you, “Where are you going?” “Ride with me.”  As you walk along the street little kids come up to you to say hello, and may ask for a gift.  Often they call you obruni (white man).  In Liberia it was quipo, in Ethiopia it was forengy (from foreigner).

    Community Impact Coach Nico from Tanzania loving his time in Ghana!

    Community Impact Coach Nico from Tanzania loving his time in Ghana!

    So what about CAC?  First of all I am meeting the nicest and most interesting people.  Nico, a Tanzanian, was the head of CACs first-ever partner program in 2008.  Now he is CAC’s first-ever Community Impact Coach working alongside the CAC coaches. What a dynamic guy.  Then there is Emily, who recently graduated college in Hawaii, moved to Ghana and became part of CAC.  Nicole, another young lady who lives in Casablanca, Morocco, works for Women Win and is here because of the partnership between CAC and Women Win.  They remind me of my daughter, watching out for me – “Need some help”; “Let me carry that suitcase”; etc.  Both are amazing soccer players and instructors.  It is fun being the oldest person, by far!  I impressed Emily in that I use email, Facebook, and Instagram on my smart phone.  We watched Barcelona play Paris-St. Germain at dinner.  At the end of dinner the waitress came with the bill, looked around for less than one second and brought it to me.  Brian said, “Thanks Dad”.

    Most important is our partner program here in Cape Coast, Play Soccer Ghana.  It consists of a terrific group of people and coaches – enthusiastic, cooperative, eager to learn, and always trying their best.  And they are great players.  We used a FIFA-built, small, turf field called a Football For Hope Center, a legacy from the 2010 World Cup.  Sometimes we had 25 coaches all scrimmaging with one ball.  I was amazed at how players found open space and completed passes regularly.

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    Coach Earl takes a moment to talk to the coaches of Play Soccer Ghana

    Many of these games we teach are played all over the world.  It is the messages on Social Impact that we are conveying that makes CAC different.  Many, if not all, of these messages – responsibility, peer pressure, communication, and more – would be just as appropriate in the United States.  The coaches we have been working with are always positive, and why not.  The Chairman of the Ghana Football Association, Central Region, Mr. M. N. Doe gave the opening and closing keynote speeches.  Coach James Kuuku Dadzie of the Black Queens (the Ghana Women’s National team) attended the ceremonies and observed some of our training sessions.  Later one day we watched him run a “street” team through their paces.  This team consisted of teenage boys and girls.  Some of the girls are on the National team.

    The week was great.  We finish up tomorrow morning and then do some sight-seeing, before starting our next program next week in Accra.  I can’t wait.

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    The FIFA Football For Hope Center in Cape Coast, Ghana

  • Buwate Youth Sports Academy SHINES ON!

    March 12th, 2013.  Coaches Across Continents have finished their Hat-Trick Initiative with Buwate Youth Sports Academy, but that doesn’t mean sport for social impact has stopped there. This past Women’s Day Buwate celebrated with addressing an issue that is most times hidden in communities.

    After many young girls, and young women in their community came forward describing horrible situations where they were succumbed to give sexual advances for employement, Buwate Youth Sports Academy didn’t want it to be a silent issue any longer. They invited women of all ages to their academy for netball and football games on Women’s Day playing Marta Games from CAC’s curriculum, and addressing the issue of unfair employment. They had women share stories of employment issues, and the harsh realities of being a women and having to deal with sexual advances from people in power.  They let the women speak up and speak out that they won’t be quiet when treated unfairly and they will stand up for their rights!

    Buwate Sports Academy ended their Women’s Day passing out clothes, shoes, books and soap donated by Universal Aid Society of Canada.

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  • Play Soccer Ghana makes a lasting impact on Women’s Day 2013.

    March 11th, 2013.  Play Soccer Ghana celebrated Women’s Day with a female soccer tournament attracting women all throughout Cape Coast to the beautiful Football for Hope Center. The young women that came out to the event were able to be involved in the Play Soccer Ghana program that teaches about social issues through games, while competing in the soccer tournament.

    Play Soccer Ghana has a curriculum that is used throughout many countries in Africa touching subjects on health and many social issues. During Women’s Day on March 8th, Play Soccer Ghana focused mainly on educating the young females about their health. They not only taught about health through soccer on March 8th but health officials addressed the young women before the soccer tournament educating them about major issues that affect women throughout Ghana. Coaches Across Continents applaud our partners for the difference they made on Women’s Day throughout the world!Image