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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!

 

Senda Makes the Official Ball for the Street Soccer USA National Cup

We’re more than happy to announce that Senda has made the official ball for Street Soccer USA’s 2012 NYC Cup. 25 specially-designed versions of the Rio Futsal will make the journey to New York City, and each Street Soccer USA City will go back home with one of them (you can purchase your own mini-ball version at the Cup where a portion of the proceeds goes back to Street Soccer USA).

Street Soccer USA teaches homeless people life skills through sport, and last year’s Cup, held in Washington, D.C. was a major success. More than 200 players and coaches participated. Most of them were homeless and former participants in Street Soccer USA. A lot of them went to D.C. as coaches, players, or supporters.

For Street Soccer USA tournaments, sportsmanship counts for a lot. Last year’s Cup introduced the use of green cards. When teams were even on points after group play, the green cards served as the tie-breaker. Handed out by referees after a match, they are awarded to players that show positive sportsmanship during a game.

This year, the Cup will be bigger than ever, with the final games being played at Times Square. Teams will be co-ed, and will come together from all over the nation to play soccer and fight against homelessness.

Sign up here to get involved in either of these three ways:

  • PLAY - Sign your team up to play in either the Open Cup or the Corporate Cup.
  • VOLUNTEER - Sign up to help out with NYC Cup weekend activities.
  • SPONSOR -  Make a donation to help support Street Soccer USA players and teams.

OR if you’re in the New York City area, come out and support the nation’s premier sport for social change event by cheering on:

July 26-27, 8am-8pm at Broome and Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side

July 29, 8am-4pm at Times Square 46th Street Plaza

Click here to read more about Senda’s partnership with the Bay Area branch of Street Soccer USA.

Read our previous blog post with Street Soccer USA coach, Antoine Lagarde, here.

 

Fair Trade Joint Body Discusses New Community Projects

Attending the Joint Body meeting with the help of my host, Ehsan (left).

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 fifth blog post from his trip. 

View the first post [+] | View the second post [+]  | View the third post [+]View the fourth post [+] 

Before arriving in Sialkot, Pakistan, one of the activities I was looking forward to the most, was meeting our ball stitchers’ and workers’ Joint Body. As part of of its commitment to Fair Trade, Senda pays a Fair Trade Premium with every ball, which is used for community projects, like healthcare and education. The Joint Body is a group of workers who are democratically elected by their peers that discuss and decide how those Fair Trade premiums can be used to benefit their coworkers and community. The Joint Body is composed of eight workers, including three factory workers, three ball stitchers, and two people from management.

I was able to participate in a Joint Body meeting and listened to some of the ideas they had to improve community projects and create new ones. There were talks about bringing a doctor at the factory to do medical check-ups, as well as putting together an eye clinic.

In addition, my host Ehsan and I met with people from a microcredit bank, to learn from them about the most successful micro-finance projects, which could potentially be started by workers’ family members.

It is through these projects aimed at improving the lives of the people making Senda’s soccer balls that provide an opportunity to make a difference. We couldn’t do this without the support of coaches, players, and parents who choose Senda whenever they need soccer equipment.

We want to thank everybody who has supported us in the last two years, and invite everyone who loves soccer to join us!

Coach Profile: Antoine (Street Soccer USA, Bay Area)

Antoine coaching his team.

Senda Athletics had the chance to interview Antoine about his connection to one of our non-profit partners, Street Soccer USA. Also check out the news story that CBS 5 San Francisco did about Street Soccer USA in the video below.

Name: Antoine Lagarde

Coach: Street Soccer USA, Bay Area, San Francisco

Nationality: France/USA

Age: 30

Occupation: SF Conservation Corps Teacher

Playing Position: Midfield

Soccer Heroes: Eric Cantona & Socrates

Motto: “Success is going from failure to failure with enthusiasm. My job as a coach is to motivate my players to always to always go hard.

So you coach a team of homeless and disadvantaged youth in San Francisco, what makes you the happiest when coaching a team like that?

Antoine: I am happy when my more advanced players patiently teach our beginners how to play. I am happiest when the positive attitude on our team inspires our players to go to college, find work, stop using drugs/alcohol, and get back on their feet!

What has been your best moment as a coach?

Antoine: My favorite moment was coaching the USA National team at the Homeless World Cup in Paris. We struggled at first, but became a family and finished the tourney at the best ranking the USA has ever had. It was a total team effort with everyone scoring at least 3 goals and leaving everything on the field. Out of our 7 players, 5 are currently coaching and using football to create positive transformations in the lives of their peers.

What was your most difficult moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: My worst moment on the field wasn’t so much embarrassing as heartbreaking. I missed a couple of penalties against Kyrgyzstan when I represented the USA at the Milan Homeless World Cup which put our hopes of advancing to the next round in jeopardy.

What was your most triumphant moment on the soccer field as a player?

Antoine: Fortunately, I atoned for my mistakes by playing excellent defense against France in the next game and helping us upset them and qualify for the next round where I scored a couple of penalties in the quarterfinals. I was proud to be mentally tough by clearing my head and helping the team win.

What does supporting Fair Trade mean to you?

Antoine: It’s very important to me because as a teacher, I teach my students about globalization by showing them a soccer ball and asking them to describe it. We then explore who made the soccer ball, the possibility that it was a young child in Pakistan in poor working conditions, and talk about supporting efforts to pay workers a living wage through Fair Trade.

Fair Price Shop: Making Food More Affordable for Workers

We visited the Fair Price Shop, which allows workers to buy basic food products at a wholesale price. Combining their collective power with the Fair Trade Premium they receive, workers can save on food, and do more with their earnings.

Senda Athletics founder Santiago Halty continues recounting his 10 day journey in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he visited the factory where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. This is his fourth blog post from his trip. 

View the first post [+] | View the second post [+]  | View the third post [+] | View the fourth post [+] View the fifth post [+] 

On my recent trip to Pakistan, I visited the Fair Price Shop. Located in the factory, the Fair Price Shop is run and used by the workers to purchase food staples, such as rice, cooking oil, flour, and tea, at a wholesale price.

The Fair Price Shop is run by the Joint Body, a group of workers that decides how the Fair Trade premiums that Senda pays is used to better their community (read Santiago’s blog better explaining the Joint Body here).

The ultimate goal of the Fair Price Shop is to provide accessible, affordable, and quality food to workers at a price they can afford. The workers spend a lot of their income on food staples, and the Joint Body wants them to be able to stretch their purchasing power.

The Fair Trade Shop is extremely accessible to the workers. First, they create a list of items that they want to purchase for the week for them and their families, and bring it with them to work. After work, they go to the Fair Price Shop and purchase the items on their list.

During my time in Pakistan, I asked the workers about what they thought of the Fair Price Shop. One suggestion that was shared by several workers was the need for affordable medicine. We are excited to announce that in about two to three months, the Joint Body will set up Fair Price Medicine Shop , which will make available affordable medication to our factory workers.

We believe that happier people create better products, so we will continue to support our workers with help from the Fair Price Shop and the Joint Body.

Hope you will join us, next time you need a quality soccer ball!

Santiago

The Human Connection: Fair Trade Producers and Consumers

With the help of my host in Pakistan, Mr. Ehsan, I talked to the women workers about the different people who use Senda soccer balls.

Senda Athletics Founder Santiago Halty continues his 10 day journey in Sialkot, Pakistan visiting the place where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. This is his second blog post from his trip. View the first post here.

View the first post [+] | View the second post [+]  | View the third post [+] | View the fourth post [+] View the fifth post [+] 

What a great day I had at the Fair Trade factory today! I can already recognize the faces of some of the people working in the different areas of Senda’s soccer ball production. People are beginning to feel comfortable seeing a foreigner around and simply chatting with me.

When I was in Berkeley preparing for my trip to visit our Fair Trade soccer ball producers, I wanted to come with something to give to the workers, and help break the ice. Bringing a physical gift for everyone was out of the question, as I did not have enough room in my luggage to do so! I started to ask for advice to people close to me and Senda.

My mother, who has been an amazing supporter of Senda from day one, always talks about Fair Trade as a way to bring dignity and pride to people through their work.

Following her advice, my team and I worked hard on making a video where players who purchased a Senda product directly thank the workers for the quality soccer balls they produce.

I was able to show that video to the workers today and it was a fantastic feeling to see their smiles and expressions when they saw people of all ages enjoying the Senda soccer balls.

Senda’s rock-star videographer intern (you know it’s you Abby!), made the video just in time for my trip. She included the word “Shukriya”, which means thank you in Urdu.

Check it out below.

Everyone should take pride in their work and feel they are making a difference. Often times, workers at factories are seen simply as labor inputs. It is tough for them to take pride in their work or find out what happens with the product after it has shipped from the factory.

As part of my trip to Pakistan, I want to start changing that paradigm, one person at a time.

As simple as it might seem, showing our factory workers the fruit of their labor can put a smile on their face. This simple act makes a big impact in how that person perceives their work.

A soccer ball brings so much happiness to those who use it. So, we wanted to make sure some of that joy went back to its source – the makers of the ball.

We know its a small gesture, but we are convinced that its well worth it.

Workers from the packing department got a kick out of hearing players of all ages saying “Thank You” in their language.

 

Senda Arrives in Pakistan to Hear Stories Behind Fair Trade

Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls in Pakistan

After a long 14 hour journey and a bit of jetlag, I arrived in the city of Sialkot, Pakistan to visit the place where Senda’s Fair Trade soccer balls are produced. I couldn’t be more excited to be here and have the opportunity to meet the people behind each Senda soccer ball. I will be staying here for 10 days, and will be uploading posts and stories of my experience.

I am lucky to have a great host, Ehsan, who picked me up at the airport this morning. He has been educating me on local culture and also helps me communicate with workers.

My first impression was that people take a great amount of pride in their work, and that they enjoy meeting someone who came from so far away to see them.

A smile and kindness can do wonders and are universal communication tools that can span language barriers. I am looking forward to visiting the homes of some of the workers, learning how to stitch a ball from them, and hearing personal stories of how people’s lives have been improved thanks to Fair Trade.

Tomorrow, I will learn more about the entire production process of a Senda ball. We will look at a quality control process that guarantees Senda’s soccer balls match or surpass the quality of competitors across the board.

Remember, there is a face behind every Senda soccer ball you purchase. Help us support the factory workers and their right to make a fair wage. 

Senda stitchers in Pakistan

 

Meet (y)our Fair Trade soccer ball stitchers

We are excited to announce that I (Sant­iago, founder of Senda) will be traveling to Pakistan May 9th, to visit the ball stitchers and workers involved in making our Fair Trade Soccer balls!

Our goal is to see first hand the impact our customers make in the lives of those who make their Senda soccer balls. I will be spending 10 days with ball stitchers and factory workers, to see first hand the impact of Fair Trade, get the stories behind the certi­fication, and bring those to you.

I will be visiting ball stitchers at home, sharing meals with them, hearing their stories, and even learning how to stich a ball myself!

This trip represents part of our efforts aimed at eradicating sweatshops by promoting a better way to do business, where more fairness and better personal relationships can be game changers.

Is there anything you would like me to do while visiting Pakistan? Any recom­mendations for street food, new ball designs you would like to see? Questions for the ball stitc­hers?

Let us know, and send us questions on our Facebook wall.

We will be writting daily reports on this trip and adven­ture, which takes us to meet the people behind the essence of the Beautiful Game: THE BALL.

More coming soon!

See you on the field,

Santiago

Have you ever wondered how refs get ready before a game?




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…

Continue reading “Have you ever wondered how refs get ready before a game?” »

What Defines Success in Soccer?

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?