Soccer: Connecting Global with Local May 6, 2013  by      

By: Nick Johnson, CFK Communications Intern

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It’s that time of year again—Carolina for Kibera’s soccer leagues are getting started, and it is obvious that players are excited!  For the last few weeks, Kiberan youth have been preparing on and off the pitch, practicing with their teams on clear days and stringing makeshift balls together with plastic bags and twine on rainy days.

Alongside teams’ regular matches, each team will participate in a series of small group discussions, called the “Caught Offside” forums. This initiative offers a safe, non-threatening space to talk about issues affecting players’ communities.  In the past, these forums have centered specifically on HIV/AIDS prevention within players’ communities, but this year, players will discuss a wider variety of topics, including substance abuse and sexual violence.

Not only do these forums reinforce the Sports Association’s mission to teach healthy life choices and break down barriers through sports, but they also work to address issues that keep Kiberan youth from pursuing their passions to begin with.  By building a sense of camaraderie through soccer, players can work together more comfortably to improve their communities!

The soccer program has lots in store over the next few months—tournaments will start, matches will be won and lost, important issues will be discussed.  Excitement is in the air, and youth throughout Kibera are eager for matches and programs to kick off!

…meanwhile, across the Atlantic…

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On a sunny Sunday in April, over 60 young women, ages 6 to 18, came to UNC’s campus to participate in a fun-filled day of sport, team-building, and community involvement.  It was time for CFK’s annual Kick for Kibera soccer clinic, run by UNC’s National Championship-Winning Women’s Soccer Team!

In its eighth year, Kick for Kibera seeks to connect young girls through soccer, demonstrating the power that sports can have to unite people of different backgrounds.  All of the proceeds from the clinic go to CFK’s Sports Association, specifically the women’s soccer initiative, which can then be used to provide supplies such as balls and cleats to CFK athletes.  So, before beginning the clinic, participants learned a bit about what life and soccer are like in Kibera.  Houses are typically smaller than a goal box.  Soccer balls are usually made out of plastic bags and twine or any other materials kids can find lying in the streets; they are also smaller, quite different from air-compressed balls commonly found in the United States.

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CFK Executive Director Hillary Omala talks to participants about what soccer is like in Kibera.

The rest of the afternoon was then dedicated to the clinic’s athletic and training events.  And what better way to play than under the guidance of UNC’s 2012 National Championship-Winning Women’s Soccer Team?  Members of the team led the girls through warm-ups, skills training exercises, and a scrimmage.  As a bonus, the girls were able to take a tour of the UNC Women’s Soccer facilities, where they might have the opportunity to play one day.

Every year, Kick for Kibera helps provide resources to Kiberan youth who would not otherwise have the ability to play.  The Sports Association not only seeks to offer this opportunity and develop athletic talent, but also to cultivate creativity and trust among teammates.  We are thrilled that this year was such a success, and are excited to see it translate into more resources for our Kiberan players.

If you like this idea or have one of your own to make an impact in Kibera, send an e-mail to info@carolinaforkibera.org!

 

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2 responses to “Soccer: Connecting Global with Local”

  1. It is important for children to enjoy the sport from a young age

  2. Becky says:

    I am a student in Hillsborough, NC and I was wondering if any of the people on the soccer teams in Kibera ever make it onto national teams or the Olympics.

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