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

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 Footballing Guide for Tourists

Brazil is undoubtedly soccer’s spiritual and cultural heart. And with World Cup 2014 coming to Rio this summer, that footballing heart will only beat louder. Soccer, which is locally referred to as futebol, is central to Brazilian life. And within Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is the place for total soccer immersion. I went down to Copacabana, the birthplace of Beach Soccer (futebol na praia), where goals litter the iconic beach.

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Carioças, the nickname for Rio natives, are passionate about futebol.  To get their fix, many wake up at the crack of dawn and head down to the beach to attend fitness programs that emphasize beach soccer.  One morning, I woke up early and set out for Copacabana to observe and get coaching ideas and training tips. If you pay a small fee (and are able to wake up early enough!), you could probably join the programs and play.

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As the sand gets extremely hot under the midday sun, you will not usually see people playing during the day.  The one exception to this rule is when it is overcast.  When cloud cover cools the sand down to a tolerable temperature, more teams train during the day.  Unfortunately (or maybe not so unfortunately), gloomy days in Rio are exceedingly rare.  So rare in fact, that Brazilians don’t seem to know how to react to rain.  During stormy weather, it appears that everyone forgets how to drive.  I’ve suffered through the most horrendous storm-induced traffic jams while in Brazil!

In addition to futebol, many groups of Carioças practice futevolley in the early evening. Kids in uniforms dominate the best fields because their clubs pay to reserve the space. Sometimes I have seen adults training on the beach as well. These are the members of the organized workout groups that I mentioned earlier.

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Now, I hope that I have not given you the wrong impression about Rio beach soccer culture.  Although the organized groups that I mentioned above require membership fees to play, there are plenty of opportunities for free pickup games for tourists!

Hate playing in the sand?  There is only one place to go in the South Zone of Rio to play on (synthetic) grass: Complexo Aterro.

I went down to Complexo Aterro in search of pickup games.  When I arrived, there was a group of guys from the local neighborhood.  They meet at the Aterro complexo de futebol (link above) before 8:45 on Saturday mornings.  One guy, almost like a coach, but more like an organizer, wrote my name down on a list. It is first come, first served and seniority is also a factor if there are lots of people in attendance. Usually, gringos are substitutes.  7v7 or 8v8 games end when 10 goals are scored, which usually takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Guys pay about $10/month and get a red and blue uniform.  For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, no one ever has a ball except the organizer. The guys that pay the monthly fee get priority over people who don’t.  As native Brazilians are chosen first, you will probably be a substitute unless there are no locals around. When it is overcast, there are not too many people in attendance.  But if it is sunny and hot, tons of people show up.  The heat makes playing much more exhausting on the AstroTurf and so multiple substitutions are required.

The game starts at around 9:00 Brazilian time. When the first team scores the 5th goal, it is halftime and it’s time for some liquid refreshment.  There is a nice man who is always around selling water.  He sells on credit so you can pay him later and don’t have to fumble for your wallet during the game.

As I said before, the first team to 10 goals wins. But when it is scorchingly hot, the game sometimes will end after only 8 goals.  This ensures that none of the players keel over from dehydration and heat stroke.  If there are lots of people sometimes 7v7 becomes 8v8 or 9v9 with subs, depending on the number of available players. The larger games only increase the amount of bickering and complaining that occurs between players.

When you sub off, your day is done!  The substitutes can enter either team, red or blue.  A sweaty jersey and shorts may be offered to you, but I wouldn’t suggest wearing them unless you like bathing in another person’s sweat!  I bring my own clothing so I can keep my sweat to myself.

I hope that I have given you a useful introduction to pickup soccer in Rio.  If watching the best footballers in the world compete at the World Cup in Rio doesn’t inspire you to get out there and play some pickup, then I don’t think anything will! While the location and rules may change, the love for soccer is universal.  I’m sure that with a little effort, you’ll be able to fulfill your dream of playing soccer in its spiritual birthplace.

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Good luck and play hard!

Story from Casey Grady

Edited by Evan Hofberg

Senda Ambassador “Tony Salciccia:” From College Soccer Star, to going Pro

 

Meet Tony Salciccia, our newest Senda Athletics ambassador, and former UC Berkeley captain. He is an amazing player and person working to become a pro player who will share his training regime as he trains for try-outs in December 2013-January 2014. Here is his first blog post!

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I am a passionate person, when it comes to soccer and being apart of a program like CAL. The UC Berkeley soccer program has a tremendous history with a great family-like culture. I live, love, and work for the team. I studied the program before coming in as a freshman an even more so as I grew up a bear my self. Knowing a lot of the former players and team captains paved the way for me to become a team captain my self junior and senior years. Team captain is a great honor and fun task, pushing the team forward.

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What I miss most about college soccer are the training sessions early morning at our practice field up this hill on Dwight aka Golden Bear. Just to know the great players who trained there before you brings a certain boost to your energy levels. Waking up in the morning happy was easy knowing a training session was minutes away. Golden Bear was a place for me to get away from the real world and into my soccer heaven and go about working on team and self improvement.

I stay in contact with the guys who moved on and made the transition into the MLS. Some of the insight I get is to stay persistent and be ready for a opportunities when they come. It is going to take hard work and being a good person.

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Senda Balls arrives at “Made By Hand, ” in Bethany Beach Delaware

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.

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.

Mike’s Impressions from the Muchnick Tournament

Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy) at the Muchnick Tournament

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.

Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy) and Brian

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!

Coach Profile: Dan and Sara (HappyFeet: Des Moines, Iowa)

Coach Daniel

For Senda’s second coach profile, we interviewed two coaches over at HappyFeet in Des Moines, Iowa. Daniel and Sara both answered our questions about coaching young children, fair trade, and their most memorable moments.

How is it like to coach soccer to 2-5 year olds?

Sara: This is the most amazing job I have ever had! Before becoming the director, I was a coach for about a year (and am currently still coaching). I work with training the new coaches to help them understand how to explain soccer to such young children! This age group is so much fun, it’s amazing to see how quickly they learn and how much fun they have with our curriculum.

Daniel:  Coaching this age group is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done.  Just watching them grow as little soccer players is amazing.  They soak up everything that you teach them and it is amazing watching them try the things that we teach them.  They want to learn this game and they get so excited every week for HappyFeet to visit their school.  I love seeing that excitement and that is what drives me every day.

What aspects of the game do you try to emphasize at such a young age?

Sara: The things we try to emphasize is just being comfortable with a soccer ball. Most kids are so used to picking up any type of ball and throwing it, so learning to use their feet is a very new skill. We teach skills such as pull backs, step overs, and pendulums. Our goal is for them to get the motion down and as they grow older they will start to understand what the move is used for and have more confidence during a real game to do as many moves as possible!

What is HappyFeet’s coaching philosophy? What do you hope to accomplish?

Sara: Our coaching philosophy is very child centered. We aren’t all about the “winners” or the amazing players, we understand that every child has a different set of skills and everyone can’t be like Cristiano Ronaldo! What we hope to accomplish is that every child has confidence in themselves. We want them to grow up knowing to not be afraid to go out of their comfort zone and try something different, in soccer and in life.

What was the most memorable HappyFeet moment you had during a lesson/game?

Daniel: I have two memorable moments. The first one was getting a group of two year olds that I’ve been working with for months to do step overs. Just watching their teacher’s jaws drop in amazement was awesome. One of the teachers came up to me later and told me how incredible it was watching them do this move because they couldn’t even tie their own shoes, walk in a straight line, etc. But when challenged they could do a step over, no problem.

The other memorable moment was this Spring in our first HappyFeet League.  I had a very young team (4 years old) that was eager to learn, but at the same time very timid with this new experience.  I had one child in particular that always wanted to score at least one goal a game, no matter what.  On the very last day he was starting to get upset because he hadn’t scored yet, so I told him that he had to win the ball in order to score a goal.  So what did he do?  He went down the field and stole the ball from the other team.  He was so excited that he just froze and couldn’t figure out what to do next.  I kept telling him to do a pull back to change direction and go the other way.  It took him about five seconds to unfreeze but when he did, he did the pull back move, changed directions away from the other team and ran down the field and scored.  He came right up to me with a huge smile yelling “I did it, I did it!  Did you see that?  I did it, I did it!”  As he gave me a high five, I had a tear in my eye and so did his parents on the sidelines.  This kid stepped up to the challenge, didn’t back down, and accomplished what he wanted to do.  That is what drives me and my coaches every day!  Watching these kids accomplish their dreams on the field and in the classrooms is one of the most amazing feelings the world.

How has the soccer scene evolved in Iowa over the last 10-15 years?

Sara:It has evolved like CRAZY. We have a huge soccer market here and I know when I was growing up it was still growing. It is still a growing market and I am excited to see how it will grow in the future.

HappyFeet Iowa's newest bobcat.

How do you think players aged 2-5 will respond to the concept of fair trade when you introduce your new Senda balls this coming season?

Sara: I don’t know if they will know! BUT we will let them know and explain the importance. I think a lot of them will really appreciate their new bobcats.

What piece of advice would you give to coaches that work with very young players?

Daniel:  Have fun and be yourself.  If you are always worrying about what these little kids are thinking about you then you will never be successful.  You have to have fun, be goofy, act crazy and just plain make them laugh and smile.  If you can do that then not only will you be having fun but the kids will too, and that is what matters the most.  If they are having fun and learning at the same time then you are doing your job.

If you’re in the Des Moines area, or just want to learn more about young children and soccer, visit HappyFeet’s website.

Coach Sara

 

Guest Blog: Designed Good’s Katy and Her Favorite Soccer Memory

What's your favorite soccer memory? A pickup game in the park on a spring day? A beach soccer tournament at Santa Cruz?

In Senda’s second guest blog post Katy Gathright, co-founder at Designed Good, shared with us her thoughts and stories on the Beautiful Game, giving back, and her favorite soccer memory: a flash party.

People talk all the time about giving others access to resources. But the process of giving back to people should also be accessible. I think it makes more sense to build a world where the things we use are connected to the things we think and imagine.

Last month, one of my best friends and I were sitting in the local coffee shop in Williamstown on a sunny afternoon, surrounded by people talking and studying and ordering iced lattes. He turned to me and said we deserved to do something really fun. Happy to validate this escape from our normal hang out spot, I agreed. He suggested we grab a soccer ball and take his amp down to the fields called Poker Flats where there was an outdoor electrical outlet to plug it in. We headed the half mile down to the fields, texting everyone we knew on the way, and held a flash soccer party. That was one of the best afternoon hours of my spring.

We weren’t kicking around a Senda ball then, but now that I’ve started a conversation around their products, I think about Foster the People blaring across the Poker Flats field and how much fun it was to play outside with my friends. I love that Senda balls not only support and help others, but also give people a place and a context to feel their very best. It is with this frame of mind – that sunny afternoon kind of feeling – that terms like fair trade and social change take on real meaning.

That’s why we love Senda’s fair trade soccer balls at Designed Good. It’s not particularly mysterious why we’ve picked them out of the crowd: Their products are both supportive of communities and high-quality in their own right. Senda balls are actually made for people to play real, fun soccer, and the stories of the people they help are inspiring on a relatable level.

Katy Gathright is a co-founder at Designed Good, a website where members can discover and purchase awesome products with a socially-conscious edge. 
Want to keep up the conversation? Drop her a line at: Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Also check out Senda’s guest blog a Designed Good here.

Katy had a flash soccer party. What’s your favorite soccer memory? Leave us a comment and let us know!