GOALS coaches using soccer for social impact

In January, GOALS welcomed Coaches Across Continents (CAC) to Leogane. This is the second year of our 3-year partnership with CAC, and it’s only getting better! It was a busy week, with lots of surprises (and dancing!) on the field. The CAC trainers are experts and innovators in the field of sport-for-development (as well as fellow Beyond Sport award winners!), and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with them.

GOALS and CAC share one key philosophy: We believe that every single child can benefit from playing soccer, whether they are kicking a ball for the very first time or they’re a team captain who scores in every match. Every day at GOALS, hundreds of kids are eating better, learning to take care of their health and developing confidence and leadership skills that will last a lifetime, regardless of their talent on the field. At GOALS and with CAC, every child can live stronger, healthier, and smarter through the love of the game.

The CAC program teaches coaches how to use soccer to address issues relevant to the unique local cultural settings in which they work. At GOALS, we focused on gender equality, conflict resolution, sexual health, and other life skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. All of these lessons are packaged in a way that lead coaches to develop confidence in their personal coaching style while developing tactics and strategies for winning on the field and in life.

Each morning, the CAC trainers helped our coaches remember what it’s like to be a kid. At each four-hour training session they were required to work hard and play hard, and they stepped up to meet the challenge – especially when it came to playing hard! There was lots of dancing, a few karate moves, and plenty of laughter. But most importantly, the CAC team taught our coaches a serious lesson with every single football game.

This year, we were proud to have an increased number of women participating. Currently, 4 out of GOALS’ 13 local staff members are women (compared to just 1 out of 14 last year!). Empowering our staff is a critical part of the GOALS model, as it’s our local coaches who are supporting and developing our hundreds of young players every single day.

Want to see more? Head on over to the GOALS Facebook page for more pictures, and check out the Coaches Across Continents Facebook page and Coach Meg's blog post about her time with GOALS for even more behind-the-scenes stories from our adventures!

Be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more updates and photos from our sport-for-development programs on the soccer fields of Leogane, Haiti.