Archive | 2014

Brazil World Cup 2014: A Senda Ambassador’s Life in Rio de Janeiro

Casey Grady is one of our Senda ambassadors who is currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is passionate about football and tries to play pickup games whenever he has free time. Casey is investigating Brazil’s street football culture and reporting back to us on his impressions.

Copacabana Footballing Guide for Tourists

Brazil is undoubtedly soccer’s spiritual and cultural heart. And with World Cup 2014 coming to Rio this summer, that footballing heart will only beat louder. Soccer, which is locally referred to as futebol, is central to Brazilian life. And within Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the place for total soccer immersion. I went down to Copacabana, the birthplace of Beach Soccer (futebol na praia), where goals litter the iconic beach.

20140207_193750

Carioças, the nickname for Rio natives, are passionate about futebol.  To get their fix, many wake up at the crack of dawn and head down to the beach to attend fitness programs that emphasize beach soccer.  One morning, I woke up early and set out for Copacabana to observe and get coaching ideas and training tips. If you pay a small fee (and are able to wake up early enough!), you could probably join the programs and play.

20140207_194140

As the sand gets extremely hot under the midday sun, you will not usually see people playing during the day.  The one exception to this rule is when it is overcast.  When cloud cover cools the sand down to a tolerable temperature, more teams train during the day.  Unfortunately (or maybe not so unfortunately), gloomy days in Rio are exceedingly rare.  So rare in fact, that Brazilians don’t seem to know how to react to rain.  During stormy weather, it appears that everyone forgets how to drive.  I’ve suffered through the most horrendous storm-induced traffic jams while in Brazil!

In addition to futebol, many groups of Carioças practice futevolley in the early evening. Kids in uniforms dominate the best fields because their clubs pay to reserve the space. Sometimes I have seen adults training on the beach as well. These are the members of the organized workout groups that I mentioned earlier.

20140213_192121

Now, I hope that I have not given you the wrong impression about Rio beach soccer culture.  Although the organized groups that I mentioned above require membership fees to play, there are plenty of opportunities for free pickup games for tourists!

Hate playing in the sand?  There is only one place to go in the South Zone of Rio to play on (synthetic) grass: Complexo Aterro.

I went down to Complexo Aterro in search of pickup games.  When I arrived, there was a group of guys from the local neighborhood.  They meet at the Aterro complexo de futebol (link above) before 8:45 on Saturday mornings.  One guy, almost like a coach, but more like an organizer, wrote my name down on a list. It is first come, first served and seniority is also a factor if there are lots of people in attendance. Usually, gringos are substitutes.  7v7 or 8v8 games end when 10 goals are scored, which usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Guys pay about $10/month and get a red and blue uniform.  For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, no one ever has a ball except the organizer. The guys that pay the monthly fee get priority over people who don’t.  As native Brazilians are chosen first, you will probably be a substitute unless there are no locals around. When it is overcast, there are not too many people in attendance.  But if it is sunny and hot, tons of people show up.  The heat makes playing much more exhausting on the AstroTurf and so multiple substitutions are required.

The game starts at around 9:00 Brazilian time. When the first team scores the 5th goal, it is halftime and it’s time for some liquid refreshment.  There is a nice man who is always around selling water.  He sells on credit so you can pay him later and don’t have to fumble for your wallet during the game.

As I said before, the first team to 10 goals wins. But when it is scorchingly hot, the game sometimes will end after only 8 goals.  This ensures that none of the players keel over from dehydration and heat stroke.  If there are lots of people sometimes 7v7 becomes 8v8 or 9v9 with subs, depending on the number of available players. The larger games only increase the amount of bickering and complaining that occurs between players.

When you sub off, your day is done!  The substitutes can enter either team, red or blue.  A sweaty jersey and shorts may be offered to you, but I wouldn’t suggest wearing them unless you like bathing in another person’s sweat!  I bring my own clothing so I can keep my sweat to myself.

I hope that I have given you a useful introduction to pickup soccer in Rio.  If watching the best footballers in the world compete at the World Cup in Rio doesn’t inspire you to get out there and play some pickup, then I don’t think anything will! While the location and rules may change, the love for soccer is universal.  I’m sure that with a little effort, you’ll be able to fulfill your dream of playing soccer in its spiritual birthplace.

bIMG_1415

Good luck and play hard!

Story from Casey Grady

Edited by Evan Hofberg

Senda now ships Internationally

We ship internationally / Envoi à l’internatonal/ 我们支持国际运输/ Hacemos envios a todo el mundo / 해외배송 가능/ Entregamos em qualquer lugar do mundo/センダは国際的に出荷できます

Untitled

That was probably one of the most questions we received : ” Do you ship internationally?”

YES ! You can now place any order and we will ship it anywhere in the world as long as USPS delivers there.

Just choose the right ball model(s) from our collection : http://sendaathletics.com/soccer-balls/

If you have any questions/concerns, let us know at info@sendaathletics.com and our international team will be delighted to help you.

Rapidogogo

 

Introducing Ethically Made-to-order Soccer Uniforms

 

We are so proud to introduce ethically made-to-order soccer uniforms constructed with 100% high performance polyester.

Besides making top quality Fair Trade soccer balls for some of the best organizations in the world, we are now proud to introduce Senda Athletics made-to-order soccer uniforms made with 100% high performance polyester.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 11.28.43 PM

Check out the video we did with Club Marin, during one of their  San Francisco Soccer Football League or SFSFL. The league was established in 1902, and its “the oldest American soccer league in continuous existence”. Watch the beautiful goal in the very last minute of the game, by a team that never stopped believing they could get the 3 points!

Great to see first hand the passionate and talented players that are choosing to use Senda’s soccer uniforms:

Club Marin that competes in one of the oldest leagues in the US ( San Francisco Soccer Football) started playing in Senda Athletics soccer uniforms, after using Senda’s soccer balls for over 3 years.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 11.29.05 PM

We have been developing soccer uniforms behind the scenes for the last nine months and currently, our uniforms are made-to-order for teams, clubs and organizations who want to look fantastic on the field, play with high-performance gear and support our sweatshop-free ethos.

uniform-bottom

We are very excited about this new step, and take pride on learning from our Fair Trade soccer ball experience, to work with supplier that are committed to craftsmanship, providing good working conditions, and paying fair wages.

To get special team pricing you can simply call us at 1-866-244-0708 or email info@sendaathletics.com and we will help you get started.

Note: There is a minimum order of 20 sets for our made-to-order custom soccer uniforms.

senda office-1-15

 

#SoccerGear #EthicallyMade #NewGeneration #FairTradeSoccer

Movement to Send the US Power Wheelchair Soccer Team to the White House

 

In 2011 the United States Power Soccer team won its second consecutive World Cup title, making them the only U.S. soccer team ever to win back-to-back World Cups. Despite this momentous achievement, the team has not yet been invited to the White House to be honored by President Obama. I truly believe that it is time for the White House to take the initiative in celebrating the dedication and achievements of athletes of all abilities representing the U.S.A.

This April, the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team will visit the White House on their way to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The goal of this campaign is to seek an invitation for the U.S. Power Soccer Team to join the U.S. Men’s National Team in their visit. This is a unique opportunity for president Obama to honor both teams achievements together, on the world stage?

1979706_644721622230599_1948414483_n

 

The United States won the first Power Soccer World Cup in Tokyo in 2007, defeating Belgium, England, Denmark, Japan and Portugal before beating France in a penalty shoot-out in the finals to win the cup. The team then made history when it defended its title in Paris four years later, defeating England 3-0 in the final becoming the first American soccer team to defend their title as world champions.

“Each year, winning teams in major sports in the U.S. spend time with the President; it is an honor athletes who reach the highest of milestones enjoy,” said Chris Finn, Head Coach of the U.S. team. “Considering we are the only team in U.S. history to win TWO world cups, I think it is prudent for our team to visit with the President and introduce him to our growing global sport.”

1795299_643820032320758_1728859376_o

Power Soccer is the fastest growing sport for power wheelchair users. Players use these power wheelchairs to pass, defend, and spin-kick a large 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to traditional soccer. Teams of four athletes compete on a regulation-sized basketball court, under rules established by the governing body of power soccer, the Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association (FIFPA). This sport provides an unparalleled opportunity for everyone to be able to experience the magic of soccer.

As believer in sports as a tool to bring people together, I know that with the help of the White House The U.S. Power Soccer Team can inspire millions with their accomplishments, and that President Obama has an incredible opportunity to honor this inspiring group of players.

To achieve this goal, USPSA and Senda Athletics are launching a Change.org campaign to gather 1,000 signatures of support, generate awareness for this cause and send the two-time defending World Cup champions to the White House.

For those of you on Twitter, we have created a web page that allows you to send a tweet to the people at the White House and US Soccer that can make this happen.

1925304_638951219474306_367109020_n

USYF Futsal Championships Trip

usyf regionals new

Last week, United States Youth Futsal (USYF) specially invited Senda Athletics to attend their 2014 Nationals in Kansas City, with 1,200 of the best Futsal players in the country competing. Over 120 teams from across the country, and even Australia, participated in the 3 day event February 14, 15 and 16, with players ranging from U-8 up to U-18.

Senda Athletics’ participation in the tournament was the perfect opportunity to showcase our Rio Training futsal ball and  Rio XLS Match futsal ball to a knowledgeable audience that is extremely particular about the types of balls they use in their training and games. The feedback we got was very positive: coaches and players alike liked the touch and feel of the Rio and Rio XLS. A surpising and interesting suggestions we received was to develop an even smaller ball then the Rio futsal junior size (22.5 inches circumference), so that players as young as 4 and 6 years old can play with a fair Trade futsal ball

We are currently working on a joint collaboration with USYF, to make a quality ball that helps grow the reach and impact of Futsal in the USA.

Many fans decided to check out the Senda booth during a break in the Futsal action.

Many fans decided to check out the Senda booth during a break in the Futsal action.

Futsal is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, its fast pace and small playing area requires players to improvise in tight spaces. The ball that is used has a slightly lower bounce so that it is easier to control on the hard surface. While futsal is similar to indoor soccer, gameplay is more similar to traditional soccer in that, there are no walls

action1

With over 70 leagues across the country, United States Youth Futsal is building a nationwide movement to grow the this fast pace and techical version of the “Beautiful Game,” and raise its level of coaching and play.

Ultimately, a generation of US players that grows up playing futsal through their development process will be able to develop unique  skills (speed of play, on the ground quick touches, dribbling 1 v 1, and more) that will transfer into the outdoors. At Senda, we are convinced that it has the  potential to increase the level of the US National Teams for both men and women, and help develop a new generation of players .

 

action2

 

Active opportunities for youth to play futsal will raise the level of college, MLS  play, and contribute to better results for US teams at the World Cup and other international competitions!

Jon Perry, – Executive Director of US Youth Futsal, explains in the brief video below, some of the benefits of futsal, that make the game fast, exciting and so beneficial for players.

Cannot wait for Senda to play an important role in this US Futsal revolution. Stay tuned for more updates…

 

Back to the Roots: Going home to Argentina for our latest campaign “Futbol is Art”

 

Last December I took a month-long journey back to my home country of Argentina in order to share the essence of soccer with Senda’s fans through our Futbol is Art campaign.

I had the chance to play pick-up soccer with our friends from Jogabo (the awesome app for players to track their stats and games), while at the same time making new friends as I visited the local neighborhood soccer pitch in La Boca, with my two cousins Francisco and Felipe.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.29.59 AM

Local kids in La Boca taking a break during our game of pick-up soccer.

It was a powerful reminder of how something as simple as a soccer ball can help people form an immediate connection. Felipe, like myself is a huge River Plate fan, and the fact that he was willing to spend an entire afternoon in La Boca surrounded with Boca Juniors fans, and help us with our videos and photos was wonderful to see! It revealed the extent to which he loves the unifying message of Senda, and the day turned into an eye-opening experience for him. In a country where rivalries run so deep, sometimes for the worse, he put himself in a situation in which he was entirely unfamiliar. It was fun to play with him, and was a heartening experience for all of us to see that our common love for the game is stronger than any rivalries.

later that week, I was able to meet 2 legendary players from local powerhouse Racing Club de Avellaneda: Francisco Maciel and Martin Vitali. I did this while watching them play FootGolf near Buenos Aires  for a  TV show called This is Footgolf, which uses Senda balls for their challenges with local soccer players. Both players helped the Racing Club, which prior their arrival had been the laughingstock of the league, win the 2001 Apertura title, ending a 35 year draught that began in 1966!

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.20.18 AM

Left to right: Pablo Gonzales (FootGolf T.V host), Francisco Maciel, Myself, and Martin Vitali.

I also had the chance to visit the fields where Messi first began playing soccer in the junior divisions of Newell´s Old Boys, at the Malvinas Sports Complex in Rosario, Argentina. It was an incredible (almost spiritual) experience, realizing that I was in the same place where one of the greatest players ever to play the game of Futbol first began to kick the ball around as a kid, and fall in love with the game.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.14.44 AM

My visit to the pitch of Newell´s Old Boys, at the Malvinas Sports Complex in Rosario, Argentina.

This trip was a great reminder of the influence that soccer had on my childhood growing up in Argentina! It also reminded me of the true essence of the game, especially when played by children who are simply trying to have fun, spend time together, and learn new tricks.

The important part of the game of Futbol is not simply the final score, but rather the people that you meet because of it, and the power that Futbol has to bring people closer together than they would otherwise be.

I think there is a lot to learn from that spirit, and I look forward to integrating it with our team into Senda’s message, and sharing it with all of you!