Sam Cronin, of San Jose Earthquakes, visits Senda’s Offices
Before the end of the 2012 Season, we had the chance to catch up with Sam Cronin, who has been a supporter of Senda since the very beginning, and has helped us test our different ball models. Here is a summary of our conversation!
Santiago – “Who are your soccer heroes?”
“…growing up, the player I always idolized was Paul Scholes from Manchester United so, try to mirror my game after his a little bit. I have a lot of respect for his loyalty to Man U, and just the quality of player he is.”
Santiago –“What would you say is the motto that you try to live by, your success motto?”
“I keep it pretty simple: I just try to improve every day, and give my best every day. I’m not a, kind of big picture guy, I just, focus on each day and make the most of each day and, it’s worked out for me so far.”
Santiago –“What has been your best moment as a soccer player?”
“I would probably say, professionally is probably making the playoffs in 2010, and beating New York in the first round which we weren’t expected to do, but a moment I’ll always cherish in my career is back in college, when our team won the national championship. Just the group of guys we had and all the work we put in as a team to get to that point was really special to win that together as a team.”
Santiago –“What team and what year was that?”
“That was Wake Forest University in 2007.”
Santiago –“ What has been your most difficult moment as a soccer player?”
“Yeah when I was in Toronto FC I had a pretty successful rookie season and the next year the new coach came in and, I just wasn’t in his plans. After a few months I was traded to San Jose, which has turned out to be a good situation for me. But in the short term back then, you know, whenever you’re traded its like you hit a cross road: it’s a defining moment whether you’re going to step things up and make the most of it or if, you’re gonna let that—the coach’s kinda lack of confidence in you, bleed over and affect your play.
It was a moment when I just really put my head back down, got to work again, and I’m happy with where things turned out now.”
“I just think soccer is, as they say, is the world’s game. You go anywhere in the world and there are kids playing soccer and for the most part it brings smiles to their faces. It’s such a simple game, but a source of so much national pride and happiness for kids all over the world. So as a professional player I think I’m in a unique position to leverage that and to impact people’s lives, especially kids. I know when I was a kid I looked up to certain players and people and yeah, so I think soccer is a great vehicle to execute change in the world.”
Santiago –“You learned quite a few things about Fair Trade in Soccer since we first met a year and a half. Why do you think Fair Trade is important in Soccer?”
“I think it’s important in soccer but also in, in every other production in the world. I mean, you here so often, especially in recent years, about malpractice in terms of factories and workers across the world so, as the world continues to progress it’s important that no one is left behind, no countries are being victims of poor practices, especially in factories with cheap labor, so I think it’s important. And I think it’s great what Senda’s doing just to be active in that community, and hopefully more companies will take on the Fair Trade mentality.
Check out Sam Cronin testing Senda Soccer balls in San Francisco!!
Made By Hand is a store in Bethany Beach Delaware which sells all kinds of Fair Trade items, and in October of 2012 it started selling Senda Balls! Check out this guest post by Made By Hand’s co-owner, Kimberly, who owns the store with her husband Marco.
I’m an anthropologist who has worked in development for decades, and my husband and I’s greatest desire in life is to see an end to poverty. After I worked with many different projects around the world, I was not being satisfied with the results, especially considering all the money spent (i.e. like with USAID, etc.).I was curious about the Fair Trade model (this is in the early 1990s when Fair Trade was called Alternative Trade). Marco and I walked into a Pueblo to People store in Houston (Marco, a Latin America folk musician, was looking for zampoñas and someone recommended this shop), and we read that the artisans were getting paid and treated fairly.I was writing a book on migration at the time, so while doing research, we decided to visit some villages in Guatemala where the women sold handicrafts to Fair Trade marketers. The results were impressive to say the least: kids didn’t have swollen bellies from malnutrition, but rather had on school uniforms; women had respect and hope for the future.Marco and I knew we had to get involved in this movement directly. We went to several NAATO conferences (North American Alternative Trade Organization) and helped form the Fair Trade Federation from which the new term Fair Trade was born. Marco and I analyzed what was needed most in Fair Trade and the answer was obvious, more 100% Fair Trade retail outlets, so in 1996 we opened Made By Hand.Seventeen years later, Made By Hand has grown tremendously. We work with artisans in 36 countries. We visit producers each year and have been able to give small grants from money leftover after we pay our bills to different groups helping with infrastructural needs. We also give every year to SERRV‘s development program for artisans. Myself and several others created the Fair Trade Resource Network, a non-profit educational organization, because back in the 1990s not many people knew about Fair Trade and we knew we needed an organization to get the word out.Most of all, Marco and I feel we are the ones who are blessed by working in Fair Trade. People say, “Oh, how great to help people.” No, it’s really the other way around. We get to go to work everyday knowing that what we do is making the world a better place. How lucky we are! And since we love to travel we can step off a plane in any country and have friends there — we may not have met each other yet, but we are already united by our mutual respect and love for each other.
On September 29th, 2012, America SCORES cities nationwide joined forces to beat the Guinness World Record for the most soccer balls ever dribbled by a group at one time. There were 749 dribblers in San Francisco at the historic Candlestick Park, and 2,149 total across all participating America SCORES cities! Beating the old record of 2,068 set by the U.N. in Gaza Strip, America Scores successfully pulled of a truly incredible feat!
Lot of Senda soccer balls to help break the record!
Check out the latest coach profile on Tim Newsome. Not only does he coach soccer and futsal all over the Bay Area, but he can teach you in the privacy of your own living room (or backyard) through his YouTube Channel. Visit Skillz and Drillz and stay tuned for his videos and updates!
- What is your youth background in terms of soccer (or football as you tend to say across the pond)?
I Grew up in England and Football was the sport (and still is) that everyone played. I played all through school and gained my coaching licenses in the UK before having an opportunity to come the US and coach.
- When and how did you get involved in coaching in the United States?
During my second year at college in the UK, I saw a flyer on the student board from the MLS. It was asking for English coaches to come out and coach summer camps through the MLS organization in many cities across America. Scraping together some ‘flight’ money, I managed to get over that summer for 3 months. I coached in the Bay Area my entire stay. After this, I went back home and graduated college in my final year. I was lucky enough to get a call from a contact here in the US. They had asked me if I want to come back out but on a full time basis. Before the phone was down, I was packing my bags ready to come out again. From going back to the UK to obtain my Masters degree in 2008 reading Sports Management and the Business of Football, I have pretty much resided here here the South Bay Area since. I love it here!
- How and why did you start making YouTube videos?
Living in Silicon Valley (the Bay Area) for the past several years has really opened up the tech side of me. My passion for reading and understanding technology from this area really inspired me to have a go at doing something myself. I thought, what could i do that involves my soccer knowledge and tech hobby? From there it was simple.
I wanted to share my soccer knowledge to a wider audience and the only way to really do that is via the internet. With my creative thinking, I literally grabbed a camera and went out there and made my first video, “the backwards scissors”. I knew I could record things but it was the editing and putting together that I needed to be creative with. From here my video’s have grown and we now have our iOS app. There is still so much more to come and we haven’t reached our first birthday yet!
- What is your most memorable coaching moment?
When I was studying for my Masters degree in 2008, I got the opportunity to coach in Zambia, Africa for 3 weeks. I jumped at the chance. We helped out at a local school where kids would walk 5+ miles a day just to attend. We coached soccer to the kids in an effort to increase the awareness of HIV/AIDS to enable the children to live safe and healthy lives.
Towards the end of my stay, we decided to treat all the kids to a bottle of coca-cola. This was a rare thing for them and some and never had it before. One boy came up to me and asked for the money, instead of the drink. I was hesitant at first because it can be dangerous kids having money on the streets due to the crimes in the villages. However, I said sure and he took the money from my hand and walked next door. I followed him to see where he was going and I found him picking out some rice to buy to take home and feed his parents and siblings. That moment never leaves me and is the most memorable.
- Who is your favorite soccer player of all time?
As a soccer coach, I sleep, eat and drink soccer. There are many good players that I have witnessed then and still playing now. If I had to choose a player that I was fond of whilst growing up it would Zinedine Zidane!
- Why does Fair Trade matter to you?
Fair Trade is important to me as I think it’s only right the workers who make products such as soccer balls get paid and treated the same. If we as consumers are going to reap the benefits of such quality goods, it’s only right to have the workers receive fair benefits for their hard work. In addition, I also like sharing the Senda story with the teams I coach and how important Fair Trade is.
One of Tim Newsome’s great videos:
We are proud to announce that Senda soccer products are available at a historic Bay Area store: Sunset Soccer!
As soon as word got out in the Bay that a new Fair Trade soccer company (SENDA) was launching in Berkeley back in 2010, we received a message from Sunset Soccer, which said that they wanted to test out and carry our products at their store. What a great moment for Senda!
More than just a soccer store, Sunset Soccer both looks and feels like a museum! The store opened its doors in 1981 as the first soccer specialty store in San Francisco. Their two stores now carry almost all of Senda’s ball collection, including the Valor Training series, the Apex Match series, and the Rio Futsal.
So next time you are in San Francisco or San Rafael, and want to check out some of Senda’s best selling Fair Trade soccer balls, stop by to see them! Sunset Soccer’s two stores are still run by Toby and Libby Rappolt, two coaches that have contributed an enormous amount to the Bay Area soccer community. When you don’t find them in their store, you’ll see them out at the fields coaching or promoting the game in their community.
Because their store is a place for all kinds of soccer aficionados, on the weekends you’ll find Sunset filled with people who have dropped by to talk about soccer, check out the latest soccer gear, or to watch one of the soccer matches playing on their TVs.
Senda Athletics founder Santiago Halty recounts his 10 day journey in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he visited the factory where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. This is his sixh blog post from his trip.
In this last installment of Santiago’s blog posts about his trip to Pakistan, he describes a theme that was very much important to him, interactions with the locals during travel.
I wanted to have some of the typical experience of people’s lives in Pakistan. A lesson I learned from traveling is that sports, especially soccer, has the power to connect people, no matter their differences. And by connecting with locals when we travel we can better understand their way of living, as well as discover unique ways to make a positive impact during our stay. All of these combined will ultimately help us become more responsible travelers, who can learn to respect and embrace the local way of living, and discover ways to positively impact the communities we visit. During my stay, I got to experience and leverage two different sports: a game I was familiar with and a game that the locals grew up playing.
One day after touring Senda’s ball factory, I went back to the neighborhood of some of the factory workers. The locals organized a soccer game on a local field, about two miles away from the factory. I saw all kinds of people playing (some without shoes!) with grass and dirt all over them. Many of the kids thought it was interesting to see a foreigner visit them. We played two 25-minute halves, until it got so dark that no one could see the ball anymore. It was a fun and intense game, and unfortunately, my team ended up losing 0-1 with a goal in the last 10 of the game.
I thought it was only going to be a pick-up game, but somehow someone out of nowhere brought out a trophy for the winning team. This gesture showed how caring the people from Pakistan were to me. I gave the “captain” of the other team a Senda Fair trade soccer ball, so they could remember the game after I was gone. Afterwards, I was invited to the house of one of the people who played in the game. We ended up talking about the game we played, international soccer life in general in the USA and Pakistan. I really enjoyed playing soccer with the locals: it was a great way of meeting new people and seeing how they live.
One thing that I had never done before was play Pakistan’s national sport, cricket. It was also in a “pick-up” format, in the yard of one of the families I visited while learning how to stitch a Senda ball in a village. It was a bit of a challenge to understand all the rules of the game, but I was able to try my luck at the bat, I even hit a few balls, and really I tried it. It helped me earn people’s respect, and I got smiles from everyone watching. Overall, I was extremely happy with how my trip went, and having the opportunity to play sports with the locals really allowed me to connect with people in a unique and special way. I highly recommend you try the same next time you are going somewhere new!
How about you? Do you have any personal stories of playing sports with the locals while traveling ? Comment below!
Moving from Japan to the US to play collegiate soccer was definitely a big transition, but my teammates and coaches made it easy and enjoyable. I love the fact that people at HNU create an extremely warm and casual atmosphere, but are serious when they need to be. What I struggled the most with on the field was the high level of physicality, especially because I grew up in a country where players rely mainly on ball technique. I was also exposed to a different coaching philosophy; most Japanese coaches use negative coaching, criticizing their players to motivate them while most American coaches use positive coaching, praising and encouraging their players. In many ways, soccer helped me perceive the fundamental differences in cultural principles between Japan and the U.S. – it definitely expanded my mind as a player and a person.I first heard about Senda from my current head coach, but it wasn’t until we used their soccer balls in our training that I got to know about the background of the product. I think fair trade is important because it helps to resolve issues concerning unethical treatment of impoverished producers. It puts people before profit; humanity before greed. I think fair trade has huge potential for positive change in the world.From Japan, Selina
Senda is creating a documentary, “Senda: Soccer’s Path to Fair Trade” to show people the real impact of purchasing a fair trade soccer ball. The film will cover how Santiago started Senda, his recent trip to Pakistan to visit Senda’s factory, and Senda’s non-profit partners.
To make this film possible, we need your help! Senda is raising funds on Indiegogo, where you can pledge any amount for some great perks. We know that not everyone can pledge, but you can also lend us your support through spreading the word ANYONE about the campaign.
Check out the special guest who showed up at the Adam Muchnick International Soccer Camp! Former Chelsea and current Shanghai Shenhua forward Didier Drogba (above) played with a Senda Rapido Premier Ball. It also comes in a Mini Ball version!
Also, watch the video below to see professional players from England, such as Shaun Wright-Phillips (Queens Park Rangers), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Zat Knight (Bolton Wanderers), and Victor Anichebe (Everton), playing with a Senda Valor Training Ball.
This is a guest post from our Director of Business Development and Marketing, Mike, who attended the Muchnick Tournament (you can read the first post here). He explains some of his impressions of the tournament:
Hi blog world! As an official sponsor of the Adam Muchnick International Soccer Camp, Senda sent me back to my hometown of Newport Beach, CA. I got to help activate the Senda brand, as well as be an extra set of hands for the camp directors. I also had the help of my “trusty steed,” my brother Brian, who plays outside back for UC Davis.
Aside from the flash of meeting some of the best soccer players in the world, I really enjoyed getting to know Todd Dunivant and Gwendolyn Oxenham. Dunivant is the starting outside back for the LA Galaxy and the MLS 11 team. He spoke with the campers and participated in a Q&A (most questions were about his famous teammates Landon Donovan and David Beckham). He also talked at length with Brian about coming up through the ranks and despite being under-appreciated (he has never been selected to the U.S. National team), he remained optimistic. His positivity really impressed me.
Oxenham is the star of the independent film Pelada. It is a very cool movie/documentary that follows Gwendolyn and her now husband Luke as they play pick up soccer games (pelada in Portuguese) around the world. Brian and I were lucky enough to play in a pick up game with her which was a very cool experience. She recently released the book she was writing while shooting the film, and she continues to play in peladas every week.
In general, it was a very fun week where we got to meet many fascinating people, help the local and international community, and gain some exposure for Senda! I am already looking forward to next year!