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Spotlight of Soccer series: Beach Soccer

Yuri Beach Soccer Shot

If you are a footballer, and you have played the game on the beach, you know how different and fun the game can be on the sand. That is specially the case when the water is warm enough for a swim right after a game!

Beach soccer started as an informal game that friends would play on the beach, mostly while on vacation. But with the growth of the sport, in 1992 the first official rules of  beach soccer were created. Since its first historical competitions, beach soccer has grown to be an international game, with the start of the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005.

Each beach soccer team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper. An unlimited amount of substitutions, from a selection of 3 to 5 substitute players, is allowed at any moment of the game, even when the ball is in play. A game lasts 36 minutes, and it is split up into three 12 minute periods. The pitch is considerably smaller than a regular one (about the size of a futsal field), and it should be composed of sand without any other objects which could injure a player. The game runs on a fast pace, with an average of over ten goals scored per game as players are able to score anywhere on the field. This makes for a fast pace game, with lots of action.

photo (1)We had the chance to discuss  beach soccer with Yuri Morales, who played for the United States national beach soccer team at the highest level. Yuri can be seen throwing bicycle kicks at virtually every Beach Soccer Tournament in the Bay, and he works with America SCORES Bay Area to inspire urban youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students, and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. He helps put together an Annual  Beach Soccer Blast Tournament in San Francisco every summer, with proceeds going to America Scores.

Yuri also played previously with the Danish professional football club Viborg F, the Portland Timbers right before they joined MLS.

Senda: How did you get involved with Beach Soccer?

Yuri:I grew up in Santa Cruz, so there was a beach going culture there. When I was playing with the Portland Timbers(USL division 1, before there was MLS) in 2006, my friend Ronny Silva was a member of the beach soccer team at that time and he was looking for players for beach soccer. There was a core group of players from Santa Cruz that were forming a core of the beach soccer national team based in training in Santa Cruz. So he asked me if I wanted to try playing beach soccer, and I did.

Senda: What aspects of “regular” soccer does Beach Soccer emphasize the most?

Yuri: There are tactics similar to grass soccer, but at the same time different because the field is so much smaller and fewer players. In terms of defensive tactics in some ways they are more similar to futsal than grass soccer in many ways. attacking wise you have to have very good technique to be successful, just like grass soccer. For beach soccer you have to be more focused on the technical because the ball is usually and ideally in the air, so you have to adjust your body in the sand. So you have to have very good techniques

Senda: What was your most memorable Beach Soccer moment?”

Yuri: The second time we qualified for the world cup in 2007, in Mexico. We beat Uruguay in an exhibition championship match. There was an arrangement that the champion of North America and the champion of South America would play against each other in an exhibition match. Uruguay earned second place in the previous world cup and they were a very strong team. We beat them in the last minute of the game. I remember because we won 4-3, and I scored the goal to make the game even at 3-3 as a substitute at that time. That was a really memorable moment for me.”

Senda – What did it feel to have the opportunity to represent your country in the World Cup?

Yuri: It feels great. I’d say that it’s a great honor, and I am very appreciative of the US Soccer Federal for sponsoring the team. They supported the team from the very beginning even when this beach soccer didn’t make much money. For them to stick with us I feel very supported by them. ”

Yuri FIFA Photo

Senda – “What piece of advice would you give to someone who wants to start playing Beach Soccer?

Yuri:Stick with it. Don’t give up. It’s like golf and snowboarding that the first few times you do it it’s going to be miserable. After that when you start getting the hang of it, getting your balance, and moving better on the sand it becomes more and more fun.”

Senda: What characteristics do you look for in a Beach Soccer ball?

Yuri: I like it to have a layer of foam so that when you kick it it doesn’t slap against your skin against your foot. When it has that layer of padding it can protect from that. Also the weight has to be just right. If it’s too light the ball would just fly away in the wind. If it’s too heavy it can hurt your foot. I think you guys did a great job with the Senda beach soccer ball. It could have a little bit more padding, but I think its a great ball.

Senda: Any fun Beach Soccer stories while playing the game?

Yuri:In 2006 in the qualifying tournament, it was my first trip with the national team. It was in the winter and it was in the Costa Rican rain forest. It rained all the time there. They built a little stadium and brought in sand, but they weren’t allowed to bring in real sand, so they brought in dirt. When it rained the dirt turned into mud, so we played the first couple games in just deep mud. It was my first beach soccer experience, and I did really well because I was used to playing in mud because in Santa Cruz in high school when it rained the grass field we played on was covered with mud. I did really well the first couple games, but it just kept raining, so the tournament was forced to move to a beach town in order to continue.”

Another story, I got to have granola next to Eric Cantona, coach for the French National Team, in 2006!  I was having breakfast in the morning and I looked over and there he was. We greeted each other and continued to have breakfast. I was a little star struck at that time.

Thanks to Yuri for taking the time to talk to us about beach soccer! 

Lessons from Bangladesh: Building a Brighter Future for Workers

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Hearing stories from the women working at the Fair Trade factory. They want to be able to contribute to the well being of their families, and improve their lives.

It has been one month since a Bangladeshi factory collapsed, leaving 1,127 workers dead on April 24. All of us at Senda have been following the discussion going on at a corporate, grassroots and non profit level. I hope that they serve to make sure that what happened in Bangladesh never happens again, and that workers around the World are not subject to abuse, poor working conditions, and low wages.

I really believe that another production model is possible, and that with some outside-the-box thinking, innovation, and compassion,  brands can genuinely  make progress in improving  the lives of those making their products. There is no reason why poor people in developing countries should be struggling to make ends meet and live a life with dignity, while companies make record profits. This does not have to be a ZERO SUM GAME.

I acknowledge that the problem of poor working conditions in factories is complex, and that mistakes will be made in all honest efforts aimed at changing the current reality. But I also believe that the time is right to construct a new paradigm, and create a system in which brands make quality products, producers make a good living, and consumers feel good about the impact of their purchases. With that vision in mind, last year I embarked in a 10 day trip to Pakistan to meet the workers behind our Fair Trade Soccer balls. I wanted to see first hand the conditions in which our products are made. The trip provided a lot of lessons, and inspired myself and the Senda team to continue working hard to make things better for our producers.

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Learning how our soccer ball panels are screen printed.

Because I actually lived inside the Fair Trade factory  (I stayed at a guest room on the 2nd floor), I was able to see first hand that workers making our soccer balls have access to proper breaks, to subsidized meals or a place to eat their own, that fire extinguishers are all places strategically, that emergency exits are properly labeled. There were some water faucets that were out of service and made it difficult for workers to access water, and we communicated that concern to the factory. They immediately acknowledge it, and took the necessary steps to repair them.

One of the main goals I had while in Pakistan, was to understand what it felt like to work everyday on the making of soccer balls. In order to do that, I asked people involved in the making of soccer balls to teach me about the work they do, and to allow me to participate in the making. I want use that opportunity to understand exactly how our products are made, have other people at Senda experience that, and then work with workers and the factory to find ways to make processes better

We might never become expert soccer ball stitchers, or screen printers, but by understanding better the work they do we can work along with them to make processes better, safer, and more efficient. It also makes us get closer to workers, and show them that we care, and we are willing to put ourselves in their shoes.

There is an opportunity for brands to empower consumers with knowledge about who makes their products, share their stories, and allow them to make a difference in their lives by committing to treating them with the respect that we believe everyone in this country deserves. I hope that more brands will embark in such a journey, and also that more consumers demand that from the companies they buy from.

Skillz and Drillz Video of the Month: The Cruyff Turn

 

Our monthly video from Skillz and Drillz is showing a classic and elegant beginner basics move: “The Cruyff Turn.”

This trick is a great way to get away from an opponent or simply just faking a cross by pulling the ball back in a different direction to get space for a better position to pass the ball, or simply a better alternative action to take place.

By doing a Cruyff turn you are  misleading the opponent and making him change his choice of action in which it most likely will be a delay from your action, ultimately leaving you with more space and time.

Take a look at this video showing step by step instructions and try to see if you can manage to do what Cruyff first did during the FIFA World Cup in 1974.

Impress your friends, coaches, opponents and yourself.

And don’t forget to visit Skillz and Drillz to stay tuned on his videos and updates!

 

 

See Cruyff doing the move himself:

Senda in Brazil



“O conhecimento do Brasil passa pelo futebol.”

Translation: “One’s knowledge of Brazil happens through football.”

-Jose Lins do Rego

At Senda, one of the things we enjoyed the most is to hear stories of how our soccer balls travel to far away places, and used in different locations we never really imagined. We love hearing from customers who end up becoming Senda Ambassadors, and share their passion for what we do, as well as their Senda balls, in places like Japan, Norway, Argentina, Morocco, Alaska, and South Africa. They often times send us their reflections on the trip, and we want to share the latest one, from our latest ambassador in Brazil: Juliano. Here is the story he shared with us, and our readers:

My experience with soccer culture in Brazil has expanded my outlook on the diverse nature of the sport. I grew up in the United States, but I am half Brazilian, and I’ve been to Brazil several times to visit family. Though I have spent a significant amount of time in Brazil, every trip is a cultural experience for me. I spent three weeks there, in December and January, visiting family and enjoying the coast of São Paulo. During this time, I played lots of pickup soccer, and visited O Museu do Futebol (The Museum of Football) at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo.

The first time I played pickup soccer after arriving in Brazil was at a cement futsal court near my grandparent’s house. I arrived to the court just as a new team was taking the pitch. Curious and eager to play, I asked if they had a spot for one more to join them. The response I got was, “Demorou,” which best translates to “I thought you’d never ask,” or “You should have asked earlier.” It’s basically a politely aggressive way of saying “Of course” and welcoming me into their pickup game. The group was made up of a mix of some younger guys in their twenties, and some middle aged guys. To be honest, I expected the level to be low. I was wrong. These guys weren’t there to mess around. The intensity and passion by which they played was invigorating. It felt like the game was do or die; players protected the goal like their life depended on it, and every missed opportunity was a dagger to the heart. Yet by the same token, they had a certain light heartedness that made it clear that this was a pelada.

Pelada is the Brazilian name for pickup game, and it literally means “naked.” I don’t think there is a more perfect name for it. Pickup games literally strip the sport down to its core. People play out of pure enjoyment and passion for the game without all the business and money behind most sports today. In Brazil, peladas are more than a game. It is a culture unified by the sport of soccer, and a country that boasts the most international success in the history of the sport. The guys I played with were fanatics who had grown up with the sport. Their understanding of the game was developed through years of exposure. These guys were neither the most athletic guys, nor the most skilled, but they had a knack for the game. Playing in their pelada was a great way to discern how soccer is so engrained in Brazilian culture.

Another memorable experience from my trip to Brazil was my visit to the Museu do Futebol. An idea of Pelé, the museum was created as homage to the strong history of football within the country. It is located inside the Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo, a public stadium where many of the biggest teams in Brazil play. I expected a small museum with a couple small exhibits, but found it to be a complete experience and more. I took two hours on the tour, but felt like I could’ve spent the entire day there. There were entire sections devoted to old soccer photos, Brazilian superstars and heroes, multimedia sections with radio and television clips, world cups, records, the evolution of soccer equipment and rules, referees, fans, and much more. Frankly I overwhelmed because there was so much soccer left and right. The incredible thing is that the exhibit was primarily about Brazilian soccer, with only contextual references the rest of the world. It is amazing that the sport has so much history in Brazil.

 

Playing soccer in Brazil has not only widened my worldviews, but also given me a unique look at the game itself. I believe that soccer is something universal enough to connect people throughout the world, and it also provides a special lens through which we can learn a lot about a culture.

I was introduced to Senda at a small-sided soccer tournament in Berkeley, California, and I was immediately drawn to the company. I am an avid soccer player and fan. I think that the Fair Trade model is something to admire in any business, especially in a worldwide market like soccer. Brazil is a prime example of a culture with a love and passion for the game that also faces problems of poverty and extreme inequality. Senda promotes a higher standard for soccer products, and encourages the society and sport to be just at all levels. Fair trade is an opportunity for people to take responsibility and make positive change through a medium that can be universally understood.

Skillz and Drillz Video of the Month: The Zidane ‘Pull Back Flick’

 

 

 

We are starting a monthly showcase of a videos, covering in detail different types of soccer movements from our partner SkillzAndDrillz, which has close to 225.000 views at YouTube.

This is a great way for players of all ages to learn new cool and useful skills, and impress their friends, coaches and not at least their opponents on the field with.
The videos have fantastic step-by-step instructions making it easy and visual for viewers to learn.

We hope you will enjoy our monthly SkillzAndDrillz video, starting with none less than one of the best players in the history, Zinedine Zidane’s “Pull Back Flick”

Visit Skillz and Drillz and stay tuned for his videos and updates! 

This month’s video:

Senda, Available at the Historic Sunset Soccer Supply (Bay Area)

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.

We are extremely proud to have Senda’s soccer balls available at Sunset Soccer, and we hope our Bay Area fans will stop by Sunset Soccer to check them out!

Senda, All the Way in Japan

Selina at Joutokuji temple, located in Kyoto City.

Did you have fun watching the Women’s Football Final at the 2012 Olympics between USA and Japan?
In this guest post by Selina, she tells some differences between American and Japanese soccer during her stay in Japan, as well why fair trade matters to her.
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

Selina at the rice fields in Otsu city, where she grew up.

Join Our Campaign for Film on Fair Trade in Soccer!

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.

Various websites have already helped us spread the word, including Soccer Cleats 101, Triple Pundit, and Designed Good. Help us share the positive impact that fair trade has on the world!

Senda Sees International Players at SoCal Tournament

Brian & Mike (Senda) with Steven Ireland (Aston Villa), Victor Anichebe (Everton), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Queens Park Rangers), Zat Knight (Bolton Wanderers), & Ashley Cole (Chelsea)

Senda sponsored the Adam Muchnick International Soccer Camp held a few weeks ago in Newport Beach, CA. For four days, children between the ages of 5-16 got to play their favorite sport– and interact with some famous players. Senda was also able to get up close and personal with a variety of English Premier League and Championship stars including Shaun Wright-Phillips (Queens Park Rangers), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Steven Ireland (Aston Villa), Zat Night (Bolton), Victor Anichebe (Everton),  and Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest). The camp gave a portion of its proceeds to the Children’s Foundation in Guatemala, where Shaun Wright-Phillips has been an ambassador since 2007.

The camp organizer, Adam Muchnick, is a former lawyer turned professional soccer agent. Many of the coaches at the tournament were either professional players, club coaches, or scouts.

Senda was represented at the tournament by Director of Business Development and Marketing Mike, and his brother, Brian. Mike explained his experience at the tournament, “All of the players were really nice. They were well-spoken and seemed to genuinely care about giving back to the community.  They even kicked around a Senda Valor with some of the campers, and many of them respected the Fair Trade aspect. Shaun Wright-Phillips even came up to me and said ‘Best of luck with the new company.  I hope it works out.’”

Some of Mike’s highlights during the tournament include Zat Knight being in denial of how tall he really is, Ashley Cole missing a penalty kick, the players unanimously agreeing that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, and Shaun Wright-Phillips talking about overcoming adversity to succeed. Numerous scouts passed on him because he was short, but he did not let that stop him.

This was the first year that Muchnick hosted the tournament. Due to its success, another camp next year is likely. Senda hopes to be there once again!

Ashley Cole (Chelsea) with Mike and Brian

Victor Anichebe (Everton) with Mike & Brian

Dexter Blackstock (Nottingham Forest), Victor Anichebe (Evertone), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Queens Park Rangers), Zat Knight (Bolton Wanderers), & Ashley Cole (Chelsea)

Zat Knight (Bolton Wanderers) with Mike

 

First Footgolf Tournament Kicks Off with Senda as the Official Ball

Here at Senda, we are happy to announce our latest partnership with the American FootGolf League (AFGL)! Footgolf is a newly created sport, and it is poised to be the U.S.’s latest craze since it combines two popular sports, soccer and golf, together.

Footgolf was created in 2009 in the Netherlands, and its popularity has expanded to Belgium, Argentina, Mexico, and Italy, just to name a few. Footgolf is traditionally played on golf courses, where the goal is to get the soccer ball in the 21 inch hole in as few kicks as possible (yes there is a dress code). In June of 2012, the first Footgolf World Cup was held in Hungary. New footgolf leagues are popping up everywhere around the country from Miami, the San Francisco Bay Area, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

American FootGolf League: Season 2012 Opening Tournament at Wisconsin Dells, July 22, 2012

The first footgolf tournament in the U.S. will be held on July 22, 2012 in Wisconsin Dells at the Cold Water Canyon Golf Course at the Chula Vista Resort. The Chula Vista course will be the first AFGL approved course in the United States. They hope to have a total of twelve by the end of the year, and twenty-four approved courses by the end of 2013.

Senda is providing the tournament’s official ball, where 30 of the 100 custom made balls will be present. Unlike traditional soccer balls, Senda developed dimples for the balls, much like the surface of a golf ball. The balls were also made to have a better flight– perfect for long shots. Senda will continue to be the official ball for the American FootGolf League for the next couple of years.

Click here to check out more photos of the official ball here!