Santiago, founder of Senda, had a unique chance to spend a week with CONCACAF referees, as they prepared for the Semifinals and Finals of the Olympic Qualifying Games in Kansas City on March 30th and April 2nd 2012. Below is his story.
When I was given the opportunity to work as a referee liaison last week, I jumped into it. Sure, working with a national team could have seemed more interesting. But the opportunity to see the game through the eyes of those who make some of the toughest calls during a match was more than enough for me! I was also intrigued about their training routine, mental fitness, and passion for the game.
And that is just the beginning…
Senda’s founder Santiago Halty had a chance to ask USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann how he would define success in his role as a coach.
Here is what Jurgen said:
How do most of us coaches, players, parents and lovers of the beautiful game define success? Wouldn’t it be great to focus on Klinsmann’s comments that he hopes his players will say, “Coach Jurgen, you really gave me some help, improving my game and taking it to another level?” He went on to say “I truly believe that if that happens, we will have a team that is there for each other a team that runs and fights for each other, and also expresses themselves individually.” If he manages to do that, it will be some fun years ahead for US fans.
We must remember, a small percentage of players go on to play college or professional soccer, so we should strive to develop players who are excellent on the field and and off. We should aim to create socially aware and conscious players. We should teach lessons about hard work, bouncing back from adversity, and accepting people are different that us; lessons that will stick with our players for life.
One of the most rewarding experiences of working at Senda is seeing coaches using Senda’s Fair Trade story to talk to players about responsibility, Fair Play, and thinking beyond themselves. We are very proud to give players, parents, and coaches the opportunity to express to most sacred values on soccer, when they need to get their equipment.
How will you define success for your club, your school team, and your kids, in whatever way you are involved with the game?
After Sam Cronin attended our pre-launch party in San Francisco December 2010, he became one of the very first supporters of Senda. Sam was one of the first guests to arrive, and he chatted with most of the soccer fans who came to celebrate with us the beginning of Senda’s journey.
Right before leaving, Sam told us: “Love what you guys are doing, let me know if I can help in any way.”
We asked him if he would be able to help us test our soccer balls, to make sure we are always making the best quality balls for each playing category.
And the verdict is?
After two years of hard work, sweat, and of working with amazing people from all over the world, I am excited to say we are officially ready to ship Senda Athletics Fair Trade Soccer balls.
Our brand new website is up and running, and we can take orders on-line, by email, fax, twitter and even in person! Getting here has been a fantastic adventure, and this is only the beginning!
I would love to share some parts of this adventure with you.
On Sunday, July 17th, Senda was at the Women’s World Cup Screening @ Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Along with thousands of fans, we witnessed one of the most exciting games of the last decade: 120 minutes of action and players that left everything on the field. It was a great opportunity for Senda to interact with hundreds of people, tell them our story, get their suggestions (“make a purple ball!”), and see young players using our soccer balls on the field.
Who knows, maybe soon enough Senda will be the official provider of another international soccer tournament? Send us your suggestions!
During the entire World Cup, US players inspired a country to believe and fight until the very last minute, no matter the circumstances. Japan shared the same spirit in the final, and was a just winner.
Before the game, and during half-time, our friends at America Scores, organized soccer games for the children who went to see the game. Everyone who stopped by their tent had the chance to enter a raffle to win a Senda ball.
For the mini soccer games, everyone used our soccer balls, and the kids loved them! It’s always nice to see young people using Senda equipment. They are some of the first people to understand and embrace the importance of Fair Trade, and to get excited about our mission.
We had an excellent time at the Civic Center, and really enjoyed all the soccer energy present that day. Senda really believes in the power of soccer to change the lives of girls, so it fantastic to see all the support for women’s soccer. We are convinced that players can be very good role models for girls around the country, and even around the World, showing how determination, and team work can help achieve good results on and off the field.
US fans are proud of this team, and the Olympics are only 12 months away. In London 2012, once again, the USWNT will have an an entire country supporting them! We hope they will continue playing with the same team spirit and determination, and win the gold medal this time.
SoccerFours, which organizes community pick-up soccer games in San Francisco, put together a fundraiser for Japan on April 2nd, and Senda provided the soccer balls for the game. Our founder, Santiago, had a chance to hang out with SoccerFours’ Chris Hutchison, play in the tournament, and even acted as the official photographer for the event!
Almost 50 participated, and SoccerFours was able to raise $800 which will be donated to the American Red Cross and their efforts to help Japan.
Thanks to everyone that showed up and played!
The Olympic Club soccer team chose the Senda Athletics Rapido Premier ball for the SFFL 2011 season.
On March 3rd, the team practiced at USF, and received the new Senda balls. Practice included former Women Professional Soccer as well as Major League Soccer players.The Rapido ball is our model for the highest level of competition, and it perfectly fit the level of the Olympic Club. We received rave reviews from the players, who loved the touch, weigh and and feel of the Rapido.
Established in 1860, the Olympic Club is America’s oldest athletic club. The soccer teams play in the San Francisco Football Soccer League, which was established in 1902, and is one of the most competitive leagues in the US.
Small Goals Big Change Tournament in Berkeley
Driving rain, a biting wind and near-freezing temperatures didn’t dampen spirits at Soccer Without Borders’ first annual Small Goals, Big Change Tournament in Berkeley on March 19th. Senda, which provided the tournament balls and lent a hand with organization, was a proud participant in the fundraising event.
Ten co-ed teams played in the all-day event at Gilman Field in Berkeley, with El Cerrito Futbol Club as the winner.
It was fun to be an active player in the soccer community, meet other players who love the game, and share an entire day with them. The dedication of the players (who huddled in heated cars between games) and tournament organizers was inspiring. It was especially heartwarming to see the leadership roles assumed by Soccer Without Borders participants.
The tournament provided a great opportunity for Senda to interact with passionate players. We received very positive feedback on our balls from both players and coaches!
Berkeley-based Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of marginalized youth. It is one of Senda’s partner organizations, which benefits from the sale of Senda equipment.