• Reaching Out in Rehobeth (Namibia)

    July 2nd, 2013.  For the second week with Special Olympics Namibia, Brian, Sheila and Charlie travelled south of the capital to the small but rapidly growing town of Rehoboth.  SON has recruited many teachers, coaches, and soccer lovers who have quite the urge to make a difference in their community.  Rehoboth is made up of vibrantly colored houses and equally vibrant personalities in the coaches that attended our program. We trained our coaches at Rehoboth HS where every morning we saw the future generations of Rehoboth come out of their classrooms and immediately beg us to play with a soccer ball. Clearly, our coaching trainees will have plenty of players willing to join their teams.

    IMG_3675Throughout the week, we taught the coaches soccer skills for life through the role models of Marta Vieira de Silva, Jack Wilshire, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Adebayor.  The coaches learned how to teach kids skills for dribbling, passing and beating your defender, along with drills of combining all three skill sets as well as key social messages that went along with each game.

    On Wednesday, the coaches learned five games that addressed HIV responsibility and how to use soccer to emphasize behavioral change to protect yourself from the virus. This was an inspirational day to be a part of as many coaches really started to speak up and have their voices heard on these issues. It was amazing to hear how many people still believe some political leaders’ incorrect statements on how to protect yourself from HIV which the CAC coaches did their best to nullify. All the trainees left that day openly talking and sharing personal stories which is so important in a country with a 15% HIV prevalence rate.

    IMG_3647On Thursday and Friday, the trainee coaches got the chance to teach the games and we really got to see their personalities shine on the field. One coach showed how to be a true team player by participating in games taught by her fellow coaches despite her severe high ankle sprain on Monday. Each coach explained the social impact message taught with each game and we were really able to see how much passion these local coaches have on changing their community by teaching conflict resolution, problem solving, health and wellness and increasing overall confidence.

    In a town divided into eight blocks, which is how residents label each other in Rehoboth, the five days with CAC showed these soccer coaches can all come together and work as one group for impact and change in their future generations.

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  • A Special Third Year in Katatura Namibia

    IMG_0232June 24, 2013.  For the third consecutive year a Coaches Across Continents team (Brian Suskiewicz, Charlie Crawford, Sheila Dohmann, Nick Gates, Bill Gates (former Middlesbrough professional) & Dr. Judith Gates – CAC board member) came to Katatura, Namibia and worked with coaches at Special Olympics Namibia.  Although is was our third year we taught all new games that emphasize conflict resolution, gender equality, and health and wellness through the use of sport.  At the Football for Hope Center there was a solid average turnout of 30 coaches a day with a very small number of them ever having any prior coaching experience.   By the end of the week these coaches had not only gained the knowledge of games that teach social lessons, but had practiced on each other and done a fair job at imitating Nick and his mannerisms.  Some even went so far as to claim “all seeing eyes” and demand public apologies from their players for mistakes.

    IMG_2949A group of these new members to the Coaches Across Continents family will be playing in the Homeless World Cup this August.  Easily identified by their dyed blonde hair and serious expressions, they would run themselves ragged by playing pickup in the morning and somehow keep chugging along through the next four hours of our own sessions.  They have the real potential for change in Namibia because they are all too familiar with the social problems that exist having lived them throughout their lives.

    IMG_0624In the afternoons, after working with the coaches, the CAC team would go to schools that Special Olympics works with and run a session for the kids.  Tuesday we went to the Dagbreek School.  It was an inspiring trip.  We had never seen kids look after each other as compassionately as these did.  These kids managed to be more considerate and aware of all of each other’s needs better than any teacher or supervisor ever could and it was done with a smile.  They’d pat each other on the back, willingly give up their turn to a newcomer, and give high-fives as often as possible.  One young girl even kindly demonstrated to a struggling Bill how to sit on a ball without falling over.   Our first week working with SON has been great, and we expect another fantastic week in the nearby city of Rehobeth next!

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  • Meet the Coaches Working in Namibia

    L to R: Nick Gates, Sheila Dohmann, Charlie Crawford, Dr. Judith Gates, Bill Gates, and Brian Suskiewicz

    L to R: Nick Gates, Sheila Dohmann, Charlie Crawford, Dr. Judith Gates, Bill Gates, and Brian Suskiewicz

    June 17, 2013.  Happy (late) Father’s Day everyone!  Coaches Across Continents has six coaches and board members here in Windhoek as we start our third year with Special Olympics Namibia.  Board member Dr. Judith Gates, who is working with UNICEF to develop a Child Protection Policy, will be working with SON along the same capacity this week.  Joining the team is another board member, former 13-year English professional player Bill Gates (Middlesbrough FC) who will be working with the four coaches on the field.  The four coaches on the field are Nick Gates, Brian Suskiewicz, Charlie Crawford or Sheila Dohmann.  Since we already know about Nick and Brian – here is some more interesting tidbits about our four other team members for the next two weeks.

    Charlie Crawford

    Charlie CrawfordCharlie is a rising junior at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, USA.  He competes on the men’s varsity soccer team as a center back and is studying philosophy.  Or is he?…  Here are some fun facts with Charlie!

    Favorite Team – FC Barcelona

    Favorite Player – Zinedine Zidane

    Favorite Coach – Nuno Piteira (coached Charlie during club soccer days in Georgia)

    Favorite Movie – Silence of the Lambs

    Why I enjoy working with CAC? – “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with such attractive people on both sides of the program and to see how our interactions effect each other.”
    Who will win the World Cups in 2014 and 2015? – 2014: USA, 2015: USA!
     
    Sheila Dohmann
    Sheila DohmannSheila has a broken elbow right now, but won’t let that stop her.  She works for the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee as head of local engagement (putting football into people’s culture for the lead up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar).  She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University (USA) where she was an NCAA varsity athlete as she rode equestrian.
     
    Favorite Team – Manchester United
    Favorite Player – Iker Casillas
    Favorite Coach – Sir Alex Ferguson
    Favorite Movie – The Goonies
    Why I enjoy working with CAC? – “I am excited to work with CAC because for a sport that I deal with in a daily basis on the corporate side I am excited to see firsthand the social impact that football can have on the younger generation and how it does bring all nations and cultures together.”
    Who will win the World Cups in 2014 and 2015? – 2014: Argentina, 2015: Japan.
     

    Bill Gates

    Bill Gates tackling George Best

    Bill Gates tackling George Best

    Bill Gates made his first-team debut for Middlesbrough at age 17 and was a first-team regular for 13 years.  He has worked programs for CAC in Uganda and Tanzania in past years.

    Favorite Team – Middlesbrough

    Favorite Player – Bobby Charleton

    Favorite Coach – Sir Alf Ramsey

    Favorite Movie – City Slickers

    Why you enjoy working with CAC? – Because Brian is so funny.

    Who will win the World Cup in 2014 and 2015? – Brazil and USA

    Judith Gates

    As always, Judith surrounded by children.

    As always, Judith surrounded by children.

    Dr. Judith Gates is a CAC board member and heads our monitoring and evaluation and child safety initiatives.  Married to Bill Gates, she has also worked programs in Uganda and Tanzania in past years.

    Favorite Team – Middlesbrough

    Favorite Player – Bill Gates

    Favorite CoachSir Bobby Robson

    Favorite Movie – Iron Lady

    Why you enjoy working with CAC? – “I never cease to be impressed to see at the variety of ways in which they can use soccer to create a real change within communities.”

    Who will win the World Cup in 2014 and 2015? – A rare occasion that I agree with Bill, but Brazil and USA

    L to R: Nick Gates, Sheila Dohmann, Charlie Crawford, Dr. Judith Gates, Bill Gates, and Brian Suskiewicz

    L to R: Nick Gates, Sheila Dohmann, Charlie Crawford, Dr. Judith Gates, Bill Gates, and Brian Suskiewicz