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USYF Futsal Championships Trip

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Last week, United States Youth Futsal (USYF) specially invited Senda Athletics to attend their 2014 Nationals in Kansas City, with 1,200 of the best Futsal players in the country competing. Over 120 teams from across the country, and even Australia, participated in the 3 day event February 14, 15 and 16, with players ranging from U-8 up to U-18.

Senda Athletics’ participation in the tournament was the perfect opportunity to showcase our Rio Training futsal ball and  Rio XLS Match futsal ball to a knowledgeable audience that is extremely particular about the types of balls they use in their training and games. The feedback we got was very positive: coaches and players alike liked the touch and feel of the Rio and Rio XLS. A surpising and interesting suggestions we received was to develop an even smaller ball then the Rio futsal junior size (22.5 inches circumference), so that players as young as 4 and 6 years old can play with a fair Trade futsal ball

We are currently working on a joint collaboration with USYF, to make a quality ball that helps grow the reach and impact of Futsal in the USA.

Many fans decided to check out the Senda booth during a break in the Futsal action.

Many fans decided to check out the Senda booth during a break in the Futsal action.

Futsal is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, its fast pace and small playing area requires players to improvise in tight spaces. The ball that is used has a slightly lower bounce so that it is easier to control on the hard surface. While futsal is similar to indoor soccer, gameplay is more similar to traditional soccer in that, there are no walls

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With over 70 leagues across the country, United States Youth Futsal is building a nationwide movement to grow the this fast pace and techical version of the “Beautiful Game,” and raise its level of coaching and play.

Ultimately, a generation of US players that grows up playing futsal through their development process will be able to develop unique  skills (speed of play, on the ground quick touches, dribbling 1 v 1, and more) that will transfer into the outdoors. At Senda, we are convinced that it has the  potential to increase the level of the US National Teams for both men and women, and help develop a new generation of players .

 

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Active opportunities for youth to play futsal will raise the level of college, MLS  play, and contribute to better results for US teams at the World Cup and other international competitions!

Jon Perry, – Executive Director of US Youth Futsal, explains in the brief video below, some of the benefits of futsal, that make the game fast, exciting and so beneficial for players.

Cannot wait for Senda to play an important role in this US Futsal revolution. Stay tuned for more updates…

 

The people behind Senda: Spotlight on members of our great team!

 

Do you ever wonder who the passionate people behind Senda are? Or how it feels to work at an athletic Fair Trade start-up that was started with the ambitious goal of  changing  the entire athletic industry?

The Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls team

Another fun day at the office for the Senda team.

We thought many of you do, so we want to introduce to you  some of our dedicated team members, who have a passion for soccer, Fair Trade practices, and using the most beautiful game in the world to improve lives.

Jeong is Senda’s Director of Marketing and Partnerships. He came from South Korea, he recently finished his masters degree at the University of San Francisco and has been rocking with Senda for almost a year. When playing ball, he is known for scoring goals at crucial moments, like on the final match we played at the Street Soccer USA West Coast Cup, with a 4-4 score. There is no task he looks at as being impossible, and we love that can-do attitude!

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Jun is a social media and marketing intern for Senda attending UC Berkeley, who was born and raised in China and came to the States over ten years ago. He joined our team  as a summer intern, and he loved it so much that he decided to stay after. He wears many hats at the company, and is always willing to give a hand on a new project that can use his skill-sets. When we have an important presentation to send to  possible corporate like Google, Clif Bar, and Hyundai among others partners, he is the person we trust to give it a final personal touch, and ensure the deck looks perfect.

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Diana is Senda’s Business Development intern who is an exchange student from Germany coming to UC Berkeley to study for a semester. We were impressed with her smarts, tenacity, and “anything is possible” attitude from the very first day. She brings to a start-up team much needed ideas for building good structures, following up on our tasks and  on deadlines we put for ourselves. She is also the one making sure that we start meetings on time, and we finish them on time as well. We love that she is never afraid of saying what she thinks, and usually does so with a smile in her face.

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We are proud to have such an international team, and in a sport that truly brings the World together, it only makes sense!  But despite being from different cultures, EVERYONE shares the  same passion and love toward soccer and the change it can make in the community.

Below are a few interesting questions we asked them, so you can get to know them better:

Tell us a little bit about yourself and a special bond you have with soccer?

Diana:

I grew up in Monschau, a very small town in the west of Germany. I have an older brother who plays soccer with passion. Soccer was also the first sport I ever tried, and I made my very best friend there who I kept throughout my entire life. Now I mostly watch it on TV and sometimes in the stadium. Now am looking forward to follow the German national team during the world cup. In my free time I like to go out to bars and movies with my friends. Traveling is another hobby of mine – I love snowboarding in the Alpes.

Jeong: I grew up in a rural area in South Korea and had been playing with nature as a little kid. Found out about soccer at a very young age, and when I moved into an urban area I started playing and watching it a lot. I have moved to numerous places, but everywhere I moved to I can always find people playing soccer. Now I play soccer at least once a week.

Jun: I was born in Guangzhou, China and spent most of my childhood there. I love playing many sports, but soccer has always been my favorite. When I was in elementary school my friends and I run out to the empty lot just across from our school and played soccer everyday. Aside from playing and watching soccer I enjoy playing basketball and listening to all kinds music.

Why did you want to join the Senda team?

Jeong: Senda contains a group of young, fresh and motivated people who are passionate about soccer and its social values. There are many different opportunities to grow. I enjoy working with such a great team that provides me with a flexible work atmosphere and creativity. I received responsibility from day 1

What do you see Senda in 5 years?

Diana: In 5 years Senda would be well established in the USA and the Americas. Growth opportunities in Europe & Asia would also open to us. There would be a larger team due to the growth, but the same energy and passion will still be there.

A European Perspective on the MLS Game Atmoshphere

We want to introduce our newest intern to the Senda Team, Diana Roder. Diana is an international student from Germany, and she is studying at UC Berkeley until the end of the year. Here she shares with us her experience attending her first professional soccer game in the US.

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This is is me – Diana Roder – at the age of 6 kicking first balls in my hometown Monschau, Germany. What I have always enjoyed about the sport is its ability to motivate and connect people!

Now that I came to the Bay Area to study a semester at the University of California Berkeley, Senda sparked my soccer passion again and gives me the opportunity to revive old memories.

I am proud to call myself part of the Senda team as Business Development Intern and inspired by the entrepreneurial energy!

 

On Saturday October 26th Senda’s founder Santiago took me to my first professional US soccer game: San Jose Earthquakes vs. FC Dallas. We had a great time cheering for our Bay Area team, socializing with the soccer community and watching Walter Martinez and Chris Wondolowski score.

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Look at me in a picture with Steven Lenhart. Getting so close to the players and taking some photos before the game was definitely a highlight of this amazing day. My friends back home will be impressed to know that I was able to get so close the the game’s stars!

 

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Being at the stadium for Quakes defender Ramiro Corrales’ final game in his MLS career was a great experience. He is an Earthquakes legend, and was the only remaining player from the inaugural 1996 MLS season that continuous today. It was touching to see thousands of fans say good bye and thank this incredible player for 18 years and 306 games of great soccer. Even from the stands, you could see his tears, and how emotional this game was for him.

Although my soccer heart keeps pounding for the German team, Senda excursions like this make me want to learn more about the US soccer spirit. I look forward to contributing to Senda’s success in the future and will definitely cross my fingers for the US national team in the FIFA Word Cup 2014.

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Beyond Soccer: Evolving the Game for Social Impact

 

Besides allowing millions of boys and girls across the USA to make friends, learn new leadership skills, and stay healthy, can soccer also be leveraged to tackle some of the current most important social problems?

That is a question that I examine on a daily basis, with the rest of the Senda Athletics team, as we build a strategy to provide ongoing soccer equipment to organizations using the game to improve in the USA. So it was extremely rewarding to do that along with almost one hundred others on Sunday September 8th in Philadelphia, PA as part of the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards at PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.

The event brought together experts from the world of soccer to discuss how soccer can lead the way in the USA in terms of creating social change.
Beyond Soccer, (powered by streetfootballworld), was the first international event in the USA focusing purely on the power of the world’s most popular sport to tackle social issues like poverty, homelessness and lack of access to education. It was a huge milestone for the US to host such an important event related to soccer and its ability to improve communities! It was a new and beautiful sign of the momentum and growth that soccer continues to experience in this country!

The one day meeting took place on Sunday September 8th in Philadelphia, PA as part of the Beyond Sport Summit and Awards- an annual event that highlights and reward projects that use sport for social change. The event came USA for the first time. Last year’s Summit in London, UK was attended by sports superstars like David Beckham, and Muhammad Ali.

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The event was kicked off by the best possible speaker, someone whose life had been improved by soccer:

This is the story of Chris Lodgson, the keynote speaker at the “Beyond Soccer” summit held at PPL Park in Philadelphia on Sunday.
The beginning of Lodgson’s story was not much different from the stories of over half a million other Americans that faced unemployment in January during the Great Recession. What is different is that after accidentally walking into a local soccer match and meeting Lawrence Cann, founder of Street Soccer USA, an organization that uses the power of soccer to help homeless people transform their lives. Cann invited Lodgson to join their soccer game and provide him with soccer equipment. “It was refreshing…for the first time, I forgot where I was and forgot who I was. The rest, as they say, is history,” Lodgson said, addressing the close to one hundred attendees.
Just after a month with the team, Lodgson moved out of the shelter and enrolled in community college to pursue a degree in accounting.
“The program staff…endowed me with a rich abundance of positive social and cultural capital which I used and used well as a springboard to propel myself forward. Seemingly overnight the resources of football became my resources. The networks of football became my networks. The power of football became my power,” Lodgson said. “Day after day, practice after practice, I began to heal.”

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“Bring football and its power to the huddled masses…bring football and its power to the homeless and to the hopeless…lift up the light of the world’s game. Give them not rest but resurgence. Give them what was given unto me,” Lodgson said.

This was an invaluable trip for me and Senda Athletics, one that provided many lessons from Sports for Development organizations that shared their own challenges and opportunities using soccer to improve lives. Returning back to Berkeley and sharing these lessons with our team motivated us to keep working hard to support the work of nonprofit organizations using the power of soccer for social good.

A question that I brought home with me from Philadelphia is: What is the role of Youth Soccer Clubs in growing the movement of soccer for positive social change? Can youth players, coaches, soccer moms and dads be a part of this young movement?

Let me know your thoughts via twitter at @SendaAthletics, use the hashtag #beyondsoccer and take part in a conversation highlighting the role of soccer for social change in the USA. The more people join the conversation and this new soccer movement, the bigger the impact will be!

* Thank you to Casey Pladus from the “Philly Soccer Page” for covering the event, and helping us to craft this story!


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Soccer Sayings

Sometimes a picture or even a sentence can put beautiful smiles on people’s faces. At Senda we want to give back and inspire our supporters in any ways we can.

Since early June Senda has been interacting with our Facebook fans through weekly soccer related photos with quotes. We hope that these pictures can give our viewers joys and motivations to continue play the beautiful sport of soccer.

Here are a few of our pictures posts. Hope you guys enjoy them!

You can grab me, but you cannot stop me

You can grab me, but you cannot stop me

Soccer is so much more than a ball and two goals. It connects people from corners of the world.

Soccer is so much more than a ball and two goals. It connects people from corners of the world.

 

I hope you always find a reason to play soccer

I hope you always find a reason to play soccer

Playing football with your feet is one thing, but playing football with your heart is another

Playing football with your feet is one thing, but playing football with your heart is another

One is never too young to start loving soccer

One is never too young to start loving soccer

 

Fair Trade in Action: Delivering School Supplies to Workers’ Children

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Senda promotes soccer and Fair Trade as tools to improve lives. The goal of Fair Trade is to provide workers with fair wages and better working conditions. Ultimately, the vision is to empower workers to have a better quality of life.

 A question we get often is, “How does Fair Trade work on the ground where your soccer ball are made”?

What better way to explain it than by sharing a recent Fair Trade project that was selected by the people making Senda’s soccer balls?!

We are excited to see the results of our Fair Trade efforts this past April 2013, when workers from the Fair Trade supplier approved a project to distribute school supplies to the children of the company’s workers. One hundred backpacks containing school supplies were handed out to the workers’ children, before their school year began.

Joint Body Back Pack projects

The project received  great response from children and their parents, and the program for delivery of backpacks for next year in 2014 will be increasing considerably.

During my visit to Pakistan in 2012, when I asked parents that worked at our Fair Trade supplier factory what they wanted for their kids, most of them said that they wanted them to have an education, and access to opportunities. It is great to now see Fair Trade helping to equip and inspire children to go to school with better materials, and some extra motivation.

This small first step to help the children of soccer ball stitchers and workers to be well equipped for schools was only possible thanks to the help, encouragement, and purchases from our customers and supporters.

THANK YOU: without you guys this could not have happened!

You are real change-makers who believe in the ability of soccer to improve lives, and our inspiration to keep growing Senda. This is just the beginning!

How to do a wall pass, thanks to OnlineSoccerAcademy.com

Jared and Stephen at OnlineSoccerAcademy.com are dedicated to making better players through free, online training videos. They produce and release new videos each Monday on a variety of topics and skills.

Having known Jared for the last few years, especially during my time at the NSCAA, I knew of the great work he was doing and saw OnlineSoccerAcademy.com grow into what it is today.

Jared and OSA impact thousands of players across the globe. What we like especially is the way that Jared takes each individual skill and breaks it down into simple, easy to digest steps. They are also committed to offering the videos free of cost, which allows players to improve by putting in the hard work and not breaking the bank.

Take a look at the video on YouTube, and head over to OnlineSoccerAcademy.com to see the entire post.

Past videos:

How to dribble with your head up
How to do an advanced turn on a defender

What is inside of a futsal ball?

I remember the first time I played futsal with a real futsal ball. I was living in Spain and headed to play pickup with some friends. One of them tossed me a ball and it went thud and barely bounced.

I thought..huh? I wonder why it did that?

Well, I’ve taken the time to show exactly why a futsal ball doesn’t bounce as well as to show the inside of a futsal ball, specifically one of our Rio XLS Futsal Balls.

Take a look and learn the secret to a futsal ball’s lack of bounce.

Online Soccer Academy: How to do an Advanced Turn on a Defender

Yesterday, Jared Montz and OnlineSoccerAcademy.com released “How to do an Advanced Turn on a Defender”, the second video in our partnership with Jared and the OSA. Click here to see the first video, How to Dribble with Your Head Up.

We really love the quality of his work and the step-by-step instruction he provides to make such a difficult move seem easy.

Take a look at the video and make sure to visit OnlineSoccerAcademy.com for more information and to check out more instructional videos!

PS. For those asking, Jared is using the Senda Volta in his videos! Check out the Volta here. 

Online Soccer Academy: How to Dribble with Your Head Up

Jared and Stephen at OnlineSoccerAcademy.com are dedicated to making better players through free, online training videos. They produce and release new videos each Monday on a variety of topics and skills.

Having known Jared for the last few years, especially during my time at the NSCAA, I knew of the great work he was doing and saw OnlineSoccerAcademy.com grow into what it is today.

Jared and OSA impact thousands of players across the globe. What we like especially is the way that Jared takes each individual skill and breaks it down into simple, easy to digest steps. They are also committed to offering the videos free of costs, which allows players to improve by putting in the hard work and not breaking the bank.

The first video we partnered on is “How to Dribble with Your Head Up” In the video, Jared shows the proper technique for dribbling with your head up and also includes key points to help you hone your skills.

Take a look at the video on YouTube, and head over to OnlineSoccerAcademy.com to see the entire post.