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Fantastic Futsal, Part 1: Futsal vs. Outdoor Soccer

Hey everyone! Welcome to the first post of our blog series that will introduce you to the fantastic sport of futsal. If you’re currently asking yourself, “What in the wide, wonderful world of sports is futsal?”, then make sure to keep reading because this post will answer exactly that question! This post and the accompanying video will explain the basic differences between futsal and soccer.

I won’t go over everything that is said in the video as Ryan does a better job of detailing the nuances of futsal than I can do in just a few sentences, but here are some important points. Futsal is very similar to normal 11-on-11 soccer, except for a few key differences:

Playing field: futsal field is indoors and has much smaller dimensions; it resembles a basketball court

Futsal Court

Futsal Court

Players: futsal has 5 players playing at a given time; 1 keeper, 4 outfield players

Regulations: futsal doesn’t have throw-ins, but rather kick-ins

Time: futsal halves are 20 minutes each; each team gets one timeout per game

Substitutions: unlimited and do not require a stoppage in play

Futsal-1

Please watch the video to get a better grasp of how futsal and soccer are related. Ryan does an excellent job introducing the basics of the sport and uses diagrams to make it easy to follow. To watch the video and get a visual overview of futsal, click this link: http://bit.ly/1uk7Jut

Well, that’s it for this week’s post in our futsal blog series. Join us next week when we’ll discuss the many benefits of futsal!

Senda Staff Profiles: What the World Cup Means to Jeong

Throughout this summer we’ve been bringing you an inside look at the World Cup from the perspective of local Brazilians. They have offered their views on soccer and daily life in Brazil, revealing deep insights into the national obsession with futebol.

But now, it’s time to hear from us! We thought we’d turn our focus inward and take a look at what our own employees here at Senda think of the World Cup. Even though the tournament is over (*sigh*), it’s never too late to discuss the Cup! We will be profiling our staff members and asking for their opinions about the world’s most beautiful game.

In this installment of our Staff Profile, we sat down with Jeong, our Director of Operations. He is a native of South Korea and a lifelong soccer supporter.

 

Jeong Staff Profile

Jeong — Of course, I support South Korea in international competitions. Even though the team didn’t play well this World Cup, they still represented the country honorably and played with integrity and grit.

I started following the World Cup in 1994 when it was held in the USA. The South Korean team was in a group with Spain, Bolivia, and Germany. They played very well and got the entire country excited about the World Cup and soccer in general. Despite their good performances, they didn’t make it through the first round. That didn’t matter too much though, because the game had already taken hold of the country’s imagination. The popularity of soccer in Korea skyrocketed after that year’s tournament. Since the World Cup in 1994, I have been following soccer and the World Cup very closely.

In 2002, the World Cup was held in South Korea and gave me many experiences and memories which I still cherish to this day. South Korea finished fourth in that tournament (admittedly with some questionable officiating decisions).

The only thing I enjoy more than being a soccer spectator is being a soccer player. I play 2 to 3 times per week. I have been able to make a lot of friends through soccer and it is one of the best ways for me to relieve my stress.

My love of sports, especially soccer, made it easy for me to decide to move to California to study Sport Management. And when the opportunity to work at Senda arose, I did not hesitate. Working at Senda allows me to use my love of soccer for the benefit of others.

Senda Staff Profiles: What the World Cup Means to Evan

Throughout this summer we’ve been bringing you an inside look at the World Cup from the perspective of local Brazilians. They have offered their views on soccer and daily life in Brazil, revealing deep insights into the national obsession with futebol.

But now, it’s time to hear from us! We thought we’d turn our focus inward and take a look at what our own employees here at Senda think of the World Cup. Even though the tournament is over (*sigh*), it’s never too late to discuss the Cup! We will be profiling our staff members and asking for their opinions about the world’s most beautiful game.

In this second edition of our Staff Profile, we talked to Evan, our Social Media Marketing and Copywriting Intern.

 

Evan Profile final

Evan — The World Cup for me is about much more than the game being played on the pitch. The tournament represents both the harmony and the disunity of our current world. For a couple months every four years, thirty-two nations put aside their squabbles and come together to compete in the same tournament. Teams and players from many different nations and from diverse backgrounds temporarily forget cultural differences and play by the same rules and regulations. All teams at the World Cup start off with equal standing and strive to attain the same goal — the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

But once the tournament starts, it’s a contest between nations not just to demonstrate dominance on the pitch, but also to assert their power on the world stage. Teams stop at nothing to win games and claim the ultimate prize. The World Cup Trophy represents so much more than just soccer excellence. It is a tangible marker of your country’s economic power and standing in global politics. The World Cup allows us to play out our nationalistic rivalries in a healthy sporting environment. Soccer is both the great unifier and the great divider.

Oh yeah, one more thing, GO USA!!

Senda Staff Profiles: What the World Cup Means to Aliénor

Throughout this summer we’ve been bringing you an inside look at the World Cup from the perspective of local Brazilians. They have offered their views on soccer and daily life in Brazil, revealing deep insights into the national obsession with futebol.

But now, it’s time to hear from us! We thought we’d turn our focus inward and take a look at what our own employees here at Senda think of the World Cup. Even though the tournament is over (*sigh*), it’s never too late to discuss the Cup! We will be profiling our staff members and asking for their opinions about the world’s most beautiful game.

To start off our Staff Profile, we talked to Aliénor, our Outreach & Community Manager who hails from France.

Aliénor — The World Cup has been a great time and brought many good memories to our Senda offices. It has been very exciting for us to watch the games and expose our supporters to the local Brazilian perspectives. Whenever a game was on, we’d always have one eye on our work and the other on the scoreline. We didn’t let it harm our productivity…(not too much, anyway!)

Even though I’m French, I’m glad that Germany made it to the final. Not just because of their great team spirit and collective play, but also because I predicted them in my World Cup bracket to make the finals! And as they beat France earlier in the tournament, Germany winning makes France look stronger.

It’s a shame that the Brazilians had to get knocked out of the tournament like that. The festa in Brazil would’ve been a lot more enjoyable, but oh well, it was not meant to be. If this loss inspires Brazilians to continue to speak out against the government and fight for better infrastructure and social services, then perhaps it will be worth it in the end.

 

 

#BeyondtheCup: Brazilians Share their Thoughts on the World Cup, Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of Senda’s #BeyondtheCup series, where we give you an inside look at the World Cup in Brazil. Here, we will bring you the stories of many diverse individuals, each one with their own unique perspective on life, soccer, and the Cup. In our conversations with the local brasileiros, we seek answers to this simple question — “What does the World Cup mean to you?”

Senda’s 4th #BeyondTheCup story comes from Adriana, a waitress from San Pablo.

Adriana 4

Senda’s 5th #BeyondTheCup story is told by Nuno Arcanjo, a musician who hails from Belo Horizonte.

Nuno

Senda Athletics’ 6th #BeyondTheCup story is from Gabriel Almeida, an Office Manager who comes from Belo Horizonte.

Gabriel

This story is part of a month-long photography series meant to share with the world the native Brazilians’ views on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But don’t think that their opinions are the only ones that matter! We want to hear from you as well! Let us know what you think of the World Cup so far on our Facebook page or on your social media outlets, using #BeyondTheCup.

#BeyondtheCup: Flashmob in Rio to support Soccer for Social Change

Yesterday, Senda Athletics participated in a flashmob in Rio to support NGOs working with blind, disabled, and at-risk individuals. The event, “Soccer for Social Change: Beyond the World Cup,” showcased soccer’s power to change lives.

The goal of the 10-minute long flashmob was to raise awareness about the crucial work of grassroots organizations and to encourage the public to leave the sidelines and help support the growing movement that uses soccer for social change.

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Accompanied by traditional Brazilian music, players from each organization performed a 2 minute skit featuring their unique take on soccer. As Brazilians rarely pass up on the opportunity to dance and let go, the audience was inspired to join the last several minutes of the flashmob. Afterwards, they were told more about the work of each organization and how to support their work.

Next, the audience got the chance to see what it’s like to play soccer in a power wheelchair. Another new experience for the spectators was completing (or at least attempting) soccer drills using blindfolds. These activities gave the crowd even more respect for those individuals who have to overcome physical challenges to play soccer.

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The flashmob could never have been the success that it was without the help of our fantastic friends and supporters. We at Senda would like to extend a special thank you to Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind, Rio de Janeiro Power Soccer Clube, @VisãodoFuturo, streetfootballworld and streetfootballworld Brasil.

We hope that our flashmob has inspired you to organize your own or to develop other creative ways of demonstrating soccer’s power to improve communities. By starting a flashmob, you will not only get to spread awareness about groups that use soccer for positive social change, but also have a ton of fun in the process!

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#BeyondtheCup: Brazilians Share their Thoughts on the World Cup

Welcome to Senda’s Beyond the Cup series, where we will give you an inside look at the World Cup in Brazil. Throughout the tournament, we will bring you the stories of 30 diverse individuals, each one with their own unique perspective on life, soccer, and the Cup. In our conversations with the local brasileiros, we seek answers to this simple question — “What does the World Cup mean to you?”

To start off our Beyond the Cup series, we sat down with Lara, a high school student who is not afraid to voice her opinions.

Rio, World Cup, Lara, Brazil

Lara, speaks her mind on the World Cup

 

For the second installment of our Beyond the Cup series, we talked with Railson, a beach vendor who sells coconut water. Although we met him in the Flamengo neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, he is not a carioca (Rio native). Railson hails from Maranhão, a state in the northeast of Brazil.

Railson, World Cup, Rio, Brazil

Railson, giving us his take on the Cup

Senda Athletics’ third Beyond the Cup story comes from Kazê Artist, a Power Soccer Player from Rio de Janeiro.

Kaze, Rio, Brazil, World Cup

Kaze, sharing his view on the World Cup

These stories are part of a month-long photography series meant to share with the world the native Brazilians’ views on the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But don’t think that their opinions are the only ones that matter! We want to hear from you as well! Let us know what you think of the World Cup so far on our Facebook page or on your social media outlets, using #BeyondTheCup.

Brazil World Cup 2014: A Senda Ambassador’s Life in Rio de Janeiro, Part 2

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 Futevôlei

If you’re in Brazil this summer for the World Cup, there is a good chance you will be watching or playing football every waking moment. Even though football is the greatest thing to ever exist in the history of humanity, perhaps you will want slightly different activities from time to time (gasp!). So if you find yourself feeling a little bit of footy overload, I have just the cure – footvolley!

Footvolley, futevôley in Portuguese, was invented right here in Rio at Copacabana Beach.  It is a pretty big deal here in Rio and there are even professional teams and leagues that follow international regulations.  I won’t bore you with details about the rules. All you really need to know is that footvolley is essentially beach volleyball, except that players are not allowed to use their hands and a football is used instead of a volleyball.

Nets for footvolley are set up at each end of the Copacabana beach. Some near posto 1 in Leme and others between posto 5/6, opposite Leme, and almost to Ipanema). Copacabana has a posto about every half kilometer, which are important landmarks with lifeguard stations and pay bathrooms.

After watching footvolley for even a couple minutes, you will probably decide not to join in with these guys. Their skill is astounding, their shorts ludicrously small, their tans glorious, and their bodies artfully sculpted to attract beautiful women. They are so good with their feet that you may start to believe that playing volleyball with your hands is strictly for amateurs.

Futebol

Before jumping in on a footvolley game, I suggest honing your skills with friends. I think I will continue to practice on my own before I try my hand at playing a game with the locals. Unless you can use your chest to collect and rebound volleyballs with startling precision, you may be a little out of your depth at first.

I have also seen a lot of footvolley on the beach in Flamengo, where somehow the players’ shorts (tungas) are even smaller.

Beach soccer pickup (Futebol na praia)

When the sun drops, Copacabana comes alive with people exercising and playing futebol.  Go somewhere with a nice view to watch the sunset, then head out to play footy.  Being the birthplace of beach soccer, Copacabana has an amazing footballing infrastructure consisting of dozens of illuminated goal posts for volleyball and footvolley.  But be sure to bring your own nets!

Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls Brazil World Cup 2014

At Copacabana you will certainly find the perfect type of playing field to match your specific soccer needs. The beach is lined with small, medium, and large nets, and even various sized pitches. The beach is wide and has plenty of space for futebol. The best locations have huge nets behind the goals and are usually dominated by organized teams at peak hours.  Watching these young men for even a few moments, you will quickly realize how skills they are. They make juggling and possessing the ball in the air seem effortless. They are true artists and the ball is their medium of expression. While you may be confident in your ability to juggle the ball on solid ground, the circumstances change dramatically when you must retain possession while mired in sand with a pack of footballers trying desperately to rob you of the ball.

If you can only juggle 2 times and have only one juggling trick, do not fear, for there are still pickup opportunities for you.  One fantastic thing about Brazil is that finding a game is easy because nearly every Brazilian man, woman, and child plays.  Most people are very relaxed and will be more than happy to have you join in. All you have to do is go to the beach in the evening and look for a group of people hanging out juggling or playing small games. Usually around 7:00-8:00 in the evening, a group will gather around posto 2, which is where I live. They start juggling, warming up, and then start a small game of 2v2.  These games are fast-paced and exciting and sometimes draw an audience. Inevitably, as the intensity builds, more players arrive and a game of 5v5 or 7v7 will begin. That’s the way things work in Brazil.  Here, a small game of keep away can transform into a full-fledged pickup game in a flash.

Pickup Futebol Basics:

- Everyone plays goalie eventually, with a typical rotation system in place. Once scored on, you rotate out of goal. If you are absolutely exhausted from running in the sand, no one will tease you if you wish to take a breather and rotate to keeper.

- Games usually last two or three goals. When the game finishes, the team currently sitting rotates in for the recently vanquished team.

- If you are knackered, you can easily have someone sub in for you.  There is always someone who wants to play.

- Games usually go on for 1 to 1.5 hours.  When everyone is panting and struggling for air, a group of fresh players will rotate in.

Best strategy to play?

The best way to play beach soccer in Rio is just to go out there with no fear. In the evening, grab a beach soccer ball, head to the beach, identify a group of players, and simply tell them that you want to play.

In the rare occasion that you do not see people already playing, walk the length of the beach until you do, or just start juggling and warming up near an empty pitch. This will signal to others that you want to play. Eventually a game will form, or at the very least, some kids will approach you to kick the ball around. The amazing thing about Brazilians is that they are really friendly and welcoming to strangers.  If you see a Brazilian without a smile on their face, perhaps their pet goldfish just died or they recently stubbed their toe. I have never been denied access to a game, but I look like Michael Bradley and Zidane had a child – a big, bald baby!  Teams have even let me practice with them because I was gutsy enough to ask. I wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you are very confident in your skills and the coach seems laid-back.

Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls Rio World Cup Brazil

Well, there you have it. That’s my take on playing futebol and futevolley on Copacabana beach. Although I outlined a rather complicated set of guidelines for getting in on the action, remember that nothing is better than simply heading out to the beach with nothing but a ball and your love for the game.

O Brasil é lindo maravilhoso, Brazil is magnificent!

Story from Casey Grady

Fair Trade in Action, Year 2: Delivering School Bags to Workers’ Children

In March of 2013, we were very excited to support our producers with a project to distribute school supplies to the workers’ children right ahead of the school year in Pakistan. This project put one hundred backpacks filled with pencils, pens, notebooks, and other supplies directly in the hands of schoolchildren. The delivery of the backpacks and school supplies generated a lot of enthusiasm on the part of both the parents and kids, and it was immediately apparent that this was a project that needed to grow! 

happy child with school supplies

The school bags project is a very symbolic initiative. As a part of an industry with a controversial history of child labor, we want to do more than just refuse to use child workers. We want to improve the lives of our workers’ children. To achieve this, we provide our (adult!) producers with fair wages to make sure that their children don’t have to work and and we help equip young students for school.

The success of this initial program has encouraged us to go even further to improve the educational futures of these children in 2014. To achieve these aims, we  partnered with Chicago Fair Trade, a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering the Fair Trade movement and making sure that Chicago continues to be a leader in the international Fair Trade community. As soon as they heard about our campaign to provide our workers’ children with school supplies in 2013, they wanted to become involved to grow the impact. This year Fair Trade Chicago contributed to our  School Bags campaign, and together we were able to grow from 100 bags delivered in 2013, to 200 bags in April of 2014!

We are thrilled to be able to help support education in such a tangible way, and also to find others who want to be a part of this initiative. Now, two hundred more kids will be able to have access to brand new school materials as they prepare for a new year of learning.

Kids showing off their new school supplies from Senda's campaign

This is just a humble step towards improving the quality of life for our workers and their children, and we understand that there is still much more to be done. We will continue to work on growing our sales so that we can make a bigger impact. And we will work hard to actively listen to what workers have to say about these programs so that we can help improve not just their lives, but those of their children as well.

These types of programs are only possible because of our incredible customers, friends, and partners. Because of your desire to make a difference with the soccer equipment you choose, you are able to help improve workers’ lives. Thanks to you, 200 hundred children are now heading off to school better prepared to succeed!

A BIG thank you for your continued support of Senda and our Fair Trade mission. We are extremely pleased and so lucky to have you all as part of our team. I’m sure that our talented and hard-working Fair Trade producers are immensely grateful too!

Pakistani child proudly displaying his new backpack thanks to Senda's "School Supplies for Schoolkids" Campaign

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.

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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.

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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.

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#SoccerGear #EthicallyMade #NewGeneration #FairTradeSoccer