• Michael Johnson Convenes Young Leaders in Dallas Summit

    June 21st 2017. Thanks to Beyond Sport for the following press release.

    Olympic legend Michael Johnson brings young leaders from 10 different countries together for a week-long summit at his cutting-edge performance center in Texas, furthering his support of young people working, leading and improving their community through sport around the world through the Michael Johnson Foundation.

    Now in the second year of the program, the Michael Johnson Young Leaders – all of whom have overcome adversity in their lives in some way – are given the confidence, skills and resources to use sport to make a positive impact on their future. The program focuses on world class sports training, leadership development and community engagement.

    Following the success of the inaugural program in 2016, the newest cohort of Young Leaders will travel to the Michael Johnson Performance Center, Dallas, from all over the world – Jamaica, Australia, Zambia, USA, UK, India, Philippines, Lebanon, Singapore and South Africa.

    The first phase of the program will involve the Young Leaders going through an intensive one week course of activities focusing on leadership development, community engagement and sports coaching and performance. They will be supported by a team of experts from around the world who specialize in sport for development, community coaching and youth leadership. This includes support from the Michael Johnson Performance team of cutting edge performance coaches, nutrition educators and sports administrators.

    Following the course in Dallas, the Young Leaders will go through a personalized twelve-month plan to support a key project they have developed that will use sport to engage and improve their community, as well as their own personal development. This support includes state-of-the-art virtual sports coaching sessions designed by Michael Johnson Performance Center, ongoing mentoring to continue their leadership development, and tangible support for their own goals and projects aimed at using sport to help their community. This includes funding, kit, and connections into to an extensive global network of leading organizations in sports, government, education, business and development.

    Following the year-long engagement, the Young Leaders will continue to be supported as alumni of the program, providing them with network, profile, and tangible education and employment opportunities.

    Michael Johnson said of the launch of the second year of the program: “These young people are already doing incredible things in their communities. We have a participant who is dodging bullets in order to provide sports training for young girls. We have a participant who is campaigning to the UK government for better access to disability sport. They are truly inspiring and have shown me the incredible plans they have to transform their communities, but which they need help to implement. We will be here to give them that help and we can’t wait to see what they will achieve.”

    Regarding the desired outcomes for the young people on the programme, Michael said: “It’s not about finding the next Gold Medallist – although if someone has the potential then Michael Johnson Performance will identify and nurture that talent. It is our hope that successful alumni of Young Leaders will become community leaders by starting their own sports charity or clubs, or become an influential coach to young people. Success here means that every single young person who has gone through Young Leaders will have the skills and opportunity to be a positive influence in their community.”

    Jamie Tomkinson ,22, a Young Leader from Class of 2016 , used the skills learnt and networks built to increase the role he plays in his community in Edinburgh: “As a result of the support from the MJYL program and the partner organizations, I have received support to deliver sport-based youth clubs for children and young people from disadvantaged areas”.

    Another MJYL alumnus, Simon, 17, from Uganda said, “As a result of the skills I learned and the ongoing support from the team at MJP, I was able to organize sporting events that coincided with World Peace Day.”

    The participants for the Class of 2017 were selected by Michael and a carefully curated panel of experts in youth leadership, sport, and social change. The selection process was carried out in partnership with Coaches Across Continents, the award-winning global charity that trains up local community leaders in using sport as a tool for social change.

  • CAC’s LA Adventure

    January 17th 2017. The CAC world has revolved around Los Angeles, USA over the past 10 days. For 4 days the team discussed CAC strategy at the Hawthorne Police Department who kindly allowed us to use their community room. We also covered new aspects of the CAC curriculum on the Chevrolet FC field which is managed and used by the Hawthorne PD to break down barriers between the police and local youth. It was built last year and opened by Manchester United legend Denis Irwin and Gyasi Zardes of LA Galaxy. Towards the end of the 10 days we branched out and fulfilled other commitments in the LA area:

    1. We ran a session with teachers from 9 different ICEF schools in the LA area (see picture above). This session focused on CAC’s educational Self-Directed Learning methodology. We demonstrated some CAC games to the group of engaged and passionate teachers which led to many fun and interactive discussions.
    2. Three of the CAC team (Nora Dooley, Emily Kruger and Kelly Conheeney) talked to volunteer Carrie Taylor on her radio show called Women Talking Football which airs on KaoticRadio.com. They discussed CAC’s partnership model and our ASK for Choice initiative which influences gender policy globally.
    3. CAC’s Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz and ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley presented at the NSCAA Convention at the LA Convention Center (see picture below). They analyzed ‘Global Coaching for Social Impact: What US Soccer Can Learn From Developing Countries’. During the convention CAC was also able to meet with many of our partners, old and new.
    4. Brian was also on a podcast called Youth Soccer Spotlight which is broadcast from Network Studios in LA. They welcomed Brian on to discuss CAC, our work and the work of many of the youth soccer coaches who get involved with CAC. Check out this podcast here.

    While it was a very busy week for the full CAC team things don’t get quieter! Some of the team have already gone to Haiti to start our 2017 partner programs with the Haitian Initiative while others have major external meetings planned this week. More on that soon!

  • The One World Futbol Announces Candidacy for President of the United States

    August 3rd 2016. We are pleased to present this guest blog post written by The Ball.

    My fellow Americans, it is with great excitement and gleeful joy that I accept the Play Party nomination for president of the United States of America.

    Today, we begin the play revolution! The goal of my presidential campaign is simple: to inspire and transform our country—and the world—into a place full of play. The Play Party and I want to lead everyone to Make Life PlayFull!

    Why play?

    When we play, conflicts are forgotten; we are creative and empowered; and we can’t help but smile, laugh and live in the moment. Play, in all its forms, unlocks our passion and our potential. It is the foundation for building the best version of ourselves and our world.

    Play deprivation is real

    Unfortunately, play deprivation is undeniably real. In too many places, opportunities to play are dwindling. In some places, recess, art and music programs have been cut. In others, these programs never existed.

    Children are more “scheduled” now than ever before, and many kids in underserved communities lack the resources, access and time to play. Studies show that this deprivation leads to poor social, emotional and cognitive development of children.

    Play champions

    Enough is enough. It’s time to change this. It’s time to bring back play.

    To do this, I’m calling on you to become a true champion of play and Make Life PlayFull for everyone! All contributions to my presidential campaign will go to three amazing partners who Make Life PlayFull daily: Coaches Across Continents, Futbol por la Paz and Playworks.

    Whether you’re with the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party or an Independent, I know all of you can get behind my party, the Play Party.

    The Ball for President - ball toss

    Make Life PlayFull

    As many of you know, balls have been around forever. The simple design is a foundation for all forms of play to build on. Basketball, baseball, soccer, cricket, tennis, tetherball, kickball, foursquare, bowling, golf, bocce and even your own imagined game all have one thing in common: a ball.

    I am from the family known as “One World Futbol.” Our family is revolutionary; we’ve been designed to withstand the harshest environments in the world. I am tough. I am durable. I will never need a pump and will never go flat. I can play anywhere and everywhere.

    Coaches Across Continents and One World Play Project

    The team at Coaches Across Continents is well aware of my durability. Through their multi-year partnership with One World Play Project, they have seen me play on soccer fields, street courts and some of the harshest, rockiest terrain in the world.

    The team at One World Play Project is proud to partner with the extraordinarily dedicated and effective team at Coaches Across Continents. Together, we’re all working to get more balls from my family to programs and organizations around the world. In 2015 alone, the Coaches Across Continents team worked in 30 countries, and with your support of my presidential campaign, we can share the joy of play with more communities.

    Contribute to play, vote for play

    Join me in this campaign to build a future that provides play for all. If we stand together and are prepared to embrace a world where no one is deprived of play, there is nothing that can’t be accomplished. Together, we will Make Life PlayFull!

    The Ball for President CTA button

  • Localizing Solutions with The Sanneh Foundation

    September 9th 2015. SDL Coach Nora Dooley shares her thoughts on our growing partnership with The Sanneh Foundation and our recent training in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    The United States and Haiti have a delicate relationship. From suspect political maneuvers to the post-disaster onslaught of NGOs ‘doing good’, I am often more convinced of the harm we have caused than the progress we have helped.

    This is a bit glass-half-empty, yes. But it comes from a place of concern. I am from the US (Boston, MA), and Haiti was the first ‘developing’ country I ever visited. I was there in 2012 and have been back twice with CAC in 2014 and 2015. I have been exposed to groups wanting so badly to ‘do good’ and actually causing harm, as well as organizations committed to long-term, locally sustainable, and the-US-does-not-know-best type of initiatives. One of the latter is led by The Sanneh Foundation (TSF).

    TSF is a non-profit based in the United States. They have programs running locally in Minnesota communities and internationally in Haiti with their Haitian Initiative (HI). CAC first began partnering with TSF in Haiti, running trainings for their HI coaches and supporting their work year-round from January 2014. We hit it off, so to speak, identifying early on that our passions and values lined up, laying the foundation for a great partnership. Later in 2014 we launched our On-Field relationship with the team in Minnesota, training TSF Dreamline leaders in CAC Self-Directed Learning methodology. Since its inception, the relationship has matured, exploring new ways to support TSF programs at home and abroad.

    Having personally led the Haiti trainings with HI for the past two years, I was excited to visit Minnesota (for the first time), learn more about TSF’s base, and work with this year’s batch of Dreamline coaches.

    The week was brilliant. I could not have asked for a better group of young leaders to teach and learn from; they were enthusiastic about life and education, they were intelligent and thirsty for new ideas, they were welcoming to an outsider (who kept championing the Patriots), and they were open and creative when asked to rise to various challenges.

    One of said challenges was particularly inspiring. Although we only had three days of training, the first two went so swimmingly that I decided to change the plan for the third and final day. Rather than continuing to teach new games to this group of coaches that was so sharp and quick in the uptake, I had them form small groups and come up with brand new games to teach each other about any social issue they chose. The outcome was – as we say where I’m from – wicked awesome. A couple groups chose to invent a game about the economic divide in the US and understanding privilege, others taught about bullying and discrimination, and still others about trust, leadership, and communicating to solve problems.

    My eager hope for this team of educators, a hope I share with the leaders of TSF, is that they continue to build off of this amazing creativity, sharing ideas with one another, inventing new games, and striving to find new solutions to the problems they see in their communities every day.

    My half-empty glass overflows when I get the chance to work with people like these Dreamline coaches. The Sanneh Foundation operates in the United States, and they have a project in Haiti. Their work sets a new standard for the relationship between the two countries; a standard centered on local people, with local knowledge, and local solutions. With a more complete picture of TSF, my excitement waxes for the future of our partnership, the promise of their projects, and the progress of the role our country is playing on fields foreign and domestic.

    IMG_3100

  • Homegrown Impact

    August 31st, 2015. SDL Coach, Nora Dooley, reflects on running her first program in the United States.

    I’ve been working for CAC for almost exactly two years. I have run trainings in dozens of countries and scores of communities – all foreign to the country in which I was born and raised: the USA.

    August presented a new frontier for my work with CAC. Although I know the States well when it comes to my personal lens, my professional lens had yet to glimpse our work on my home turf.

    Our first US partnership began in 2014 when Chevrolet built a portable field for Beyond the Ball in Chicago, Illinois as part of their #WhatDoYouPlayFor campaign. We have been involved in this initiative in many countries now, training local leaders in our curriculum in order to provide the communities that receive Chevrolet’s fields with resources capable of making the most of the new space.

    I recently returned to Little Village, Chicago to pay a visit to Beyond the Ball (BTB), work closely with their coaching staff, and further their training in sport for social impact. That portable field that Chevrolet built? A community treasure. It was amazing to see proof that this gift of sport was received by an organization fit to capitalize on the opportunity presented to them.

    During my week with BTB I learned a great deal about their organization, the people who work there, and the community they work in. With all of our programs there is a portion of training dedicated to discussing what it means to create a safe space for children to play and learn regardless of any differences they might have. Often, due to the poor conditions of the physical spaces our partners are tasked with using, the bulk of these discussions centers on the role of the coach in nurturing emotional safety. Beyond the Ball, however, opened my mind to the potential of a physical space to have incredible positive impact on an entire community.

    BTB has been running free programs in the Little Village community of Chicago for nearly 20 years. Their mission is community empowerment. They have created a niche where all members of the community are welcome, involved, and valued as part of a growing family. The results that they have seen over time and with great sacrifice are impressive. Like a business, they identified a gap in the market, filled it with passion, and are humbly plodding on, aware of their homegrown success and ever eager to do more.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time getting to know this small organization with big ideas and the people capable of bringing them to life. Crossing the threshold from the known (foreign countries) to the unknown (the US) I was, honestly, more weary than I’d like to admit. I wasn’t confident in my ability to adapt to this seemingly alien culture in which I was once a part. A week with Beyond the Ball and my insecurities vanished. People are people no matter where you are. We all love to play, to learn, to love, and to laugh – especially at ourselves.

    B2B's field, courtesy of Chevrolet FC

    B2B’s field, courtesy of Chevrolet FC

    IMG_0741