Today kicks off streetfootballworld’s second and final portion of the SportsUnited exchange, a U.S. Department of State sports diplomacy program that fosters mutual understanding between people of the U.S. and other cultures through the power of sport. The international group representing Colombia, Nicaragua, and the United States will spend eleven days touring three sites along the east coast.
The exchange officially began in January, 2015 when twelve youth leaders and staff members from soccer for development organizations across the U.S. and Latin America embarked on a “reciprocal learning tour” in Granada, Nicaragua and Bogotá, Colombia. These participants represent six non-profit organizations from streetfootballworld’s global network, a team of more than 100 organizations in 60 countries using soccer as a tool for social change. Following a successful implementation of the first phase of the exchange, streetfootballworld is eager for this week’s activities to begin.
Starfinder Foundation will host the first leg of the exchange in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 27 to May 30. Starfinder Foundation is a youth leadership program that pairs soccer with educational and enrichment programs. The hosts have planned a full three days of programmatic workshops, site visits, and cultural visits to the old city and local museums.
The next stop on the tour is New York City where Street Soccer USA will host the group from May 30 to June 3. Street Soccer USA works in over 20 cities across the country to connect young people and families experiencing homelessness with life skill training that transforms lives. Street Soccer USA has planned an exciting few days: the group will attend the United States Women’s National Team’s last game before the Women’s World Cup, visit the Empire State Building, and participate in programs throughout the five boroughs.
The tour will conclude in Atlanta, Georgia from June 3 to June 6 with local host, Soccer in the Streets. Soccer in the Streets is one of the pioneers in the field of soccer for social change, working with 1,500 disadvantaged youth and their families per year. Soccer in the Streets uses soccer to engage and inspire young adults in Atlanta, providing lifeskills that range from workforce preparation to homework help for students. Among many scheduled activities, the participants will take part in a Street Cup on the final day, creating an ideal opportunity for the group to engage with local teams.
This reciprocal “learning tour” between six of streetfootballworld’s network members draws from organizations based in the U.S. and Latin America. Participating groups from Latin America include Fundación Colombianitos (Bogotá, Colombia), Soccer Without Borders (Granada, Nicaragua), and Fundación Tiempo De Juego (Bogotá, Colombia). Participating groups from the U.S. include Soccer in the Streets (Atlanta, GA), Street Soccer USA (New York, NY), and Starfinder Foundation (Philadelphia, PA).
Participants will post reflections, observations, pictures, and more during the exchange. Please visit streetfootballworld’s website to learn more about the tour and follow the conversation on Twitter with #SportDiplomacy.
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More about streetfootballworld:
streetfootballworld is the leading global organization in the field of ‘soccer for social change.’ streetfootballworld connects a worldwide network of over 100 non-profit organizations in more than 60 countries that use soccer to address critical social issues like gender inequality, lack of education, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, and unemployment. By working with partners from the worlds of sport, business, politics, philanthropy, and social enterprise, streetfootballworld brings global support to sustainable local initiatives.
More about the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division:
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Division leads the U.S. Department of State’s international exchange efforts to bring the global community together through sports. Under its SportsUnited: International Sports Programming Initiative, public and private U.S. based non-profit organizations may submit proposals to address one of three themes: Sport for Social Change, Sport and Disability, and Sport and Health. Since 2002, the division has awarded 104 grants to U.S. non-profits to conduct programs in 62 countries around the world.