• Friendship and Partnership for CAC in NYC

    September 22nd 2017. CAC ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley reflects on our program in New York with South Bronx United.

    I met Eric Saito, the Education Director at South Bronx United, when we were volunteers together in South Africa with Grassroot Soccer. Four years later we both find ourselves still committed to the spaces we chose next: organizations that believe in the potential of sport to be a powerful force of compassion and opportunity. We go about our efforts in different ways, holding onto the belief that collaboration and partnership can launch us into new and improved realities.

    So in 2017 Coaches Across Continents and South Bronx United launched a new partnership, spearheaded by that friendship forged across oceans years ago. We held the first On-Field training in August with leaders from the ranks of SBU as well as other organizations around the boroughs of New York City.

    Over the course of this week we played over 40 CAC sport for social impact games and covered a range of topics including immigration, racism, income inequality, gender, bullying, sexual health and stereotypes. We discussed different strategies of coaching in order to stimulate dialogue around relevant social issues in participants’ lives and communities. We also recognize that some players come to a soccer field to escape some of these issues – so we dug into methodology that allows coaches to create opportunities for players to solve their own problems on the field, developing skills that will transfer into other social spheres.

    The players in SBU sport and education programs are from marginalized and vulnerable populations in the South Bronx. Many come from families of immigrants if they are not immigrants themselves. At a time in the US and the world when finding innovative and collaborative solutions to addressing serious issues of discrimination feels urgent, it is an honor to be able to do so with an inspiring group of New Yorkers, in a city I have called home, and with a dear friend.

    Coming away from this week begs a few questions: How can we build more coalitions in the US – cross-community, cross-issue, cross-sector? How can sport for development programs hold more space in the conversations at the intersections of social justice, education and politics? How can we leverage sport as an artistic tool for activism, like so many already use visual arts, music, and literature?

    Lots to think about, lots to do… back to work!

  • 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.

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