• AFC Hosts CAC At Dream Asia Awards

    December 11th, 2017.  Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz recently attended the AFC Dream Asia Awards in Bangkok, Thailand.  As a key official Social Responsibility partner of the Asian Football Confederation, CAC delivers various projects throughout Asia including creating Sustainable Community Legacies at the AFC Village in Tacloban, Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan and in Sindhupalchok, Nepal after the recent Earthquake.

    Throughout the two-day event Suskiewicz spoke with FIFA President Gianni Infantino as well other AFC Social Responsibility partners the UNHCR, the International Federation of the Red Cross, and the United Way, about ways to continue to create social change through football.

    During the conference a special meeting of the AFC Social Responsibility committee and partners was convened to Design, Develop, and Implement further social responsibility projects throughout the 47 Member Associations of the AFC.  Joining the meeting was AFC Executive Committee member Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi (Saudi Arabia), Park Ji-sung (former Korean Republic international and Manchester United legend), and Head of CSR for the AFC, Dr. Anna Ranganathan.

    Awards were given at a star-studded gala on the final night for the best players, coaches, teams, and social responsibility projects throughout Asia for 2017.  A new state-of-the-art mini-pitch was also opened as a Legacy project donated by the AFC.  On hand were the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, FA Thailand President Police General Somyot Poompanmoung, President of Bangkok Thonburi University Dr Bangon Benjathikul, Dwight Yorke (FIFA Legend), and Park Ji-sung. Altogether 160 refugee and stateless children from Thailand’s border areas, identified and selected by AFC’s Social Responsibility partner UNHCR, were invited to the launch and participated in the activities.

    Coaches Across Continents is a proud partner of the Asian Football Confederation and will continue to create Community Legacies throughout the continent.

    Brian Suskiewicz. (Coaches Across Continents); Dr. Susheela Balasundaram (UNHCR); AFC EXCO member Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi, Park Ji-sung, P. Ming Wong (United Way), Gwendolyn Pang (IFRC), Shin Chul-soon (Cerebral Palsy Football Korea).

  • Jenny From the Block Tackles South Africa

    July 25th. Volunteer Jenifer Anzivino writes about experiencing CAC and South Africa for the first time with Red Cross in Limpopo.

    There are two type of people in this world, the dreamers and doers. I grew up playing soccer my entire life and traveling all over the US. Once I was done with playing I knew I wanted to stay involved in the game so I started coaching. Personally, I am not one to just make rash decisions but once I heard about CAC I immediately thought this was an amazing opportunity to do the two things I love – coach and teach with a bonus of being able to travel. Without sitting there and analyzing the opportunity I immediately reached out to get involved. A few weeks later I got my destination, South Africa.

    July 8th I arrived at a hostel to meet up with the coaches I would be working with for the next 3 weeks. They had just arrived after spending 3 weeks in Cameroon. Within 24 hours of meeting Charlie and Leah I knew the week was going to be one to remember after getting a nice “love tap” on my forward for being the last one to put my thumb to my forehead after a burp (to be honest, I still lose at the game every time so I end up slapping my own forehead).

    That first night we met up with the Red Cross in Limpopo to have dinner and discuss the week ahead. The people from the Red Cross could not be any more welcoming and grateful for CAC returning for the third year. There were a ton of laughs that night getting to know everyone.

    From that dinner the laughs never really stopped On and Off the field. We had such an amazing, exciting, appreciative group of coaches to work with. The age of the coaches was a huge range but each could not be more eager to learn and become great coaches and role models in their community that faced a large number of challenges. We also got the opportunity to play against some of the staff from the Red Cross which was amazing. As the sun went down we stayed and played 5v5 (CAC WON), even though the next day the three of us struggled to walk from being so sore! As the week wound down and the realization hit that we would be leaving these amazing people, our last day was honestly an emotional one. One of the female coaches could not contain her emotions that the program was over, a contagious feeling. At that moment it truly clicked that all our work, games, laughs, and educational messages were genuinely valued. I can not thank our participants and the Red Cross in Limpopo for making my first trip with CAC one I will never forget in South Africa.
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  • Sedikwe Sa Bagwera (Circle of Friends) in Mokopane

    July 17, 2014.  Traveling from Zimbabwe overnight on Friday night, we were suppose to get to Polokwane, South Africa Saturday morning at 7:20am. TIA – This is Africa (as one of the locals taught us) was very clear during that bus ride. As we were entering our 4th hour at the Beit Bridge border, I could do nothing but laugh at the fact that we had been in and out of the bus 3 times, they went through our bag twice, and at the time we were suppose to arrive in the Limpopo province of South Africa, we were still in line at the border. Finally, after hitting the road again around 9am, I started to realize why patience is a virtue. The 17 hours traveling made me appreciate what was to come next way more. A Red Cross representative (our partner in Mokopane) picked us up from Polokwane and drove us the 50km to Mokopane. Right away, we knew it was going to be something special. We were staying at the hotel with all the participants, a shuttle was driving us to and from the facility (so “Africa time” was not a factor), we were getting fed three times a day, the sessions were on a turf field at the FIFA For Hope Center Mogalakwena, and we had more than 40 participants. What else could you ask for?

    Once we got to the hotel, I opened the door and saw three double beds, a TV, air conditioning, a big bath, a shower (with hot water) a tea/coffee machine (which is comfort food for me) and there even was wi-fi available! It is crazy the difference that two weeks can make (see Connection Not Found: Please Try Again blog). We, as Coaches Across Continents, welcome all circumstances and enjoy both also! After meeting with George Mamabolo, the South Africa Red Cross manager of the Limpopo Province, it was clear why the program was so well organized. The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture was sponsoring the whole program. That way, it was possible for coaches from all over the Limpopo province to come and be a part of the program.

    Finally, Monday morning came, and it was time to start with the program. Over the next two weeks, we played over 50 games from our curriculum, had two sessions of coach backs (where the coaches coach either our games or new games), had two tournaments with the community, our compulsory child’s rights discussion, a discussion on characteristics of a good coach, but most importantly, had tons of fun and smiles. During the first week, we focused on identity building and HIV/AIDS, as requested by the coaches. The coaches were all really eager to learn, and it made the sessions very interesting and very impactful. During the second week, we focused on child’s rights, drug and alcohol abuse and on environmental education. During all the games, it was awesome to see them recognize what needed to be done and how they could work together as a community to improve. With all the games we played, I think my personal favorite was 95% football (invisible soccer).The teams came up with different strategies that made the game really interesting. One of the teams even called their players by different names so the other team would not know who they are passing the ball to. The game was filled with smiles, conflicts, solutions and laughs; making it a really successful game.

    The two weeks in South Africa were awesome, as we had a good program, but so much more. It helped me learn a lot about the impact we coaches can have in coaching for social impact and it helped me learn about myself a lot, as I was sometimes push to surpass my limits. Not to forget about the different words I learned, my favorites being Yebo (yes) and Laduma (goal). My dance move repertoire was also expanded, and my coordination improved greatly, thanks to Circle of Friends (Sedikwe Sa Bagwera) dancing exercises. After having a nice celebration last night with the participants, it is now time for me to head home. My adventure with CAC has been really enriching and I could not have asked for a better way to spend my summer – beside maybe being in Brazil to see Germany in the Final. One thing for sure, no where would I have learned as much! Now, time for 40 hours of traveling!

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