More than Futbol lived up to it’s name this year, with Coach Katherine spending 4 months during her gap year coaching, encouraging, sharing stories and inspiring our students to chase their dreams.
What is More than Futbol?
More than Futbol is a program run by former TeamUSA Player Ali Andrzejewski that uses soccer to teach positive values and life skills to children in Central America. Ali had seen how children live in extreme poverty and don’t have much opportunity or direction in how to create a better life for themselves. Through this program, her goal is to use sport to help direct children and provide hope, encouragement and life skills. These skills include work ethic, confidence, teamwork, and discipline. Today More than Futbol runs a soccer league in Nicaragua, and has been helping at Holy Cross since January 2010.
Using her gap year
When Katherine learned of an opportunity to run an extended soccer camp in Belize, she was delighted. This was something she was excited to do during her gap year. So from January through to the end of April, Katherine coached soccer after school, along with Coach Kathryn Krimm, who stayed for two months.
Children from all ages as young as five showed up to have fun playing. As well as soccer skills, Coach Katherine also instructed them in good sportsmanship, self discipline, managing frustrations, working towards goals and being a good team member. “When I first came, the kids would start fighting if anything went wrong. But with patience, conflict resolution, rewards for good sportsmanship and the punishment of being sent off for fighting, the children quickly learned better ways to respond. There’s much less fighting now.”
Student Empowerment Classes
Coach Katherine also worked with the students during the day, running empowerment classes for all the students to encourage good values, identify goals and take steps to work towards those goals.
In the youngest classes, she would read stories with a moral and encourage students to learn from them. For example, in reading Oh The Places You Will Go, she encouraged students to think about what skills they had already that they could use in the future. She also talked about ways to overcome obstacles and ways to respond to anger other than fighting.
In the middle division she talked about doing your best. She also talked being a role model to others and ways to prevent bullying. Classes included skits and activities to engage the students and the students really enjoyed it.
In the upper division, Katherine encourage students to think about what they wanted to do with their lives. She then helped them identify what steps they would need to take to get there. What skills did they need to learn? What should they study in high school? She also assisted them with some practical tips, for example how to prepare for a job interview.
Thank you Coach Katherine and all the other coaches who have volunteered in Belize over the years. We look forward to your coaches returning for more skill building over the summer.
Are you looking for ideas for your gap year? Or are you interested in using your sports skills to make a difference? Contact More Than Futbol today.