Updated: Jul 12
What is Soccer For You?
That was the first question of the coaching clinic on February 26, 2022, at Camp Lester.
Soccer is everything.
Soccer is connecting with people from different backgrounds.
Soccer helps us to make friends.
These answers from the participants of the coaching clinic - Soccer is Global - are just examples of how soccer can impact and transform different individuals and communities. “At EFAO, we believe that football is more than physical activity for our players. EFAO players learn to assimilate values such as respect, empathy, responsibility, and teamwork,” says EFAO Sports Director Pablo Stkacz.
Soccer Is Global
One of the EFAO program objectives is to provide meaningful opportunities for our children to grow as a player and as an individual with positive values and attitudes in and out of the football pitch. As part of the EFAO vision, we are always trying to expand our global connections with soccer organizations with similar visions. In this post, we are excited to announce a new partnership with an organization called PlayOnside, located in the Thai-Burmese border town of #MaeSot, Thailand.
What is PlayOnside?
PlayOnside is a non-profit organization using soccer to educate and empower refugees and migrant youth from Myanmar displaced in Thailand. The organization has three main focus areas: gender equality, empowerment of local youth leaders, and social integration between the different migrant communities. PlayOnside’s soccer program is based on regular training sessions, tournaments, and coaching development programs that aim to break down societal barriers, stigmas, and stereotypes to foster inclusion and equality among Burmese migrant children in Mae Sot, Thailand.
Watch PlayOnside Intro below:
EFAO Digital Manager, Mariano Zuk, has been involved with PlayOnside since 2015, when he took part in developing the first soccer coaching program for the Mae Sot community, including the organization of the “On The Border Football Tour 2015" . - Watch below.
“From 2015 to the present day, I have supported PlayOnside initiatives that directly impact the Mae Sot community based on the principles of empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice, and collective action. Also, the high level of transparency, expertise, and trust in managing its annual budget and absorbing losses with its funds without major disruption are clear examples of how PlayOnside has developed a reputable and ethical image within its private donors,” Mariano explains.
In 2019, PlayOnside’s work was recognized by finishing second in the 2019 FIFA Diversity Award, which was a significant step for this organization working so hard for the last seven years in the Mae Sot community.
Watch PlayOnSide Coaching Training Program 2015-2017
What is Next?
At EFAO, we continue planning and supporting different soccer initiatives that will benefit in the short and long term the growth of EFAO players. Some of the EFAO objectives for this collaboration include the opportunity to:
travel and play tournaments in Thailand
get involved in community service through football activities
run fundraising events to continue building a strong EFAO family community
As part of this initiative, EFAO staff donated part of the coaching clinic - Soccer is Global - earnings to PlayOnside, which will be used to purchase food, blankets, medicines, and other necessities as the number of refugees and migrants continue fleeing across the border.
Stay tuned for more updates.
- The EFAO Team