Today, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan announced two sports exchange programs under the “Sports for All” initiative in the lead-up to the World Cup in Brazil.
The “Sports for All” program promotes greater social inclusion and leadership through a series of people-to-people exchanges, mentorships, and private sector partnerships. The program builds young people’s abilities to compete in the labor market through teamwork and leadership development, while learning American English.
First, 14 female youth soccer players and two coaches from Brazil will travel to the United States for a series of soccer clinics with their American peers April 22-30, as part of Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative. This exchange aims to increase sports opportunities for females worldwide, leading to improved health, higher self-esteem, and greater academic success. The athletes are part of the Estrelas do Futebol program, which teaches soccer, English, and leadership skills to teenage girls in Sao Paulo. Workshops will focus on team-building, volunteerism, and entrepreneurism as it relates to sporting events. Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain launched Estrelas do Futebol during a Sports Envoy trip to Brazil in 2013.
The second exchange, May 4-13, will send former U.S. national team members Tiffany Roberts and Cobi Jones to Brazil to conduct a series of soccer clinics and workshops for youth. In addition to a stop in Brasilia, they will visit Recife, Natal, and Manaus, the host cities of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s opening round games. Roberts and Jones will encourage healthier lifestyles and leadership abilities for youth participants through clinics in each of these cities.
Through the State Department’s sports diplomacy programming, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs encourages the involvement of traditionally underrepresented audiences. Since 2003, ECA has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from more than 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in sports visitor programs while sending over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries on Sports Envoy programs.
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