Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Soccer Program!

In January, we started a new program with our four soccer teams in order to help them build skills and adopt behaviors that will be useful throughout their lives. Our coaches told us of a concern that many boys that play soccer in the slum become distracted from school or put all of their hopes into becoming major league soccer players. As a result, they become disappointed as adults when they find they should have focused more on academics or discover that they won't be able to play soccer for a living. Many of these boys may turn to drugs or crime.

As part of the new program, coaches award a certain amount "points" to their players during each practice. Points are awarded for performance in six different areas:

1. Attendance
2. Cleanliness
3. Timekeeping
4. Attitude/Discipline
5. Soccer Skills, Effort and Improvement
6. Academic Performance in school

At the end of each school term, coaches will total the points for all of the players. The three players with the highest point totals will receive funds toward educational costs (school supplies, school fees, uniforms, etc). Older boys that are no longer in school may receive funds for business start-up or training in a specific area such as driving or computers.

Joel Otieno, age 13, Points Leader for the Under 14 team

During the term, the boys with the highest point totals are eligible for special privileges. This coming weekend, the 22 players on our Under-17 and Under-14 teams that have earned the highest amount of points will be participating in a two-day tournament. They will be traveling out of Kibera to play against other teams from throughout Nairobi and receive brand new shoes to play in.

Our coaches have reported that attendance and the efforts of the boys have improved and we hope that the new program will motivate them to always do their best in soccer, in school and in life.

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