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Senda at the UN Forum on Sports and Peace

This past June 5 and 6th I had the opportunity to attend the 3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development at the UN headquarters in New York City. 

The forum was started in 2009 at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. The forum focuses on how sport can contribute to peace and development in the world, centering on themes such as promoting education and healthy lifestyles through sport and advocating a peace culture among young people.

Among the people who attend were UN Special Advisor Wilfried Lemke, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, IOC President Jacques Rogge, and many other important figures from the Sport for Development and Peace Movement.

After Ban-Ki Moon opened the forum, I had the chance to meet him, and tell him briefly about Senda’s work. I even got him to sign a Senda limited edition VOLTA Premier ball for our office space.

It is great to see that the most important figure at the United Nation took the time to open an event that addressed the role of sports to improve communities.

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To be honest, the rhythm of the forum’s sessions and some of the presentations were a bit slow, and included ceremonial phrases and statements that were new to me. Perhaps that is just part of the UN’s protocol, and a way of hosting presentations when you have so many government representatives from over 80 countries.

Perhaps, instead of the forum being dominated by “one way” presentations, with a brief time for Q&A, it would have been useful to have more time for unstructured sessions, or even four or five smaller “unconferences” in which smaller groups of attendees get to network, discuss their goals while using sports for development and peace, as well as share challenges and opportunities. This might present more opportunities to explore how different organizations, businesses, and governments might be able to collaborate on sports initiatives, and work together to learn best practices that have been proven to work effectively.

Maybe that will be the case in 2015, when the next forum takes place in a location to be determined.

Overall it was a very interesting experience: I was proud to represent Senda, and humbled to have the opportunity to share the work that we do with the help of our customers and nonprofit partners. Below is an interview from the UN’s TV crew, which covered the event, and asked me to describe the work of some of the organization Senda partners with!

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Join Senda, and See Firsthand an LA Galaxy warmup with Beckham and Co.

Senda’s founder Santiago Halty recently had a chance to see David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Robbie Kean and the LA Galaxy get ready for a 2012 MLS “All or nothing” Playoff game. It was a fantastic experience to see how World-class players prepare for crucial games, in an environment of hostility, and high-pressure. Here is the video we want to share with you:

Right before the game, David Beckham announced he would end his career with the LA Galaxy, and some speculated that he would going to retire afterwards. He recently announced that he would leave the MLS to continue playing in a different league, which has yet to be announced.

We had a chance to show Beckham and several  LA Galaxy players a Senda Fair Trade soccer ball!  Many were intrigued about our products and mission. Now we need to get a few of them to start playing with them in the off season…

Beckham has a long, prestigious, and controversial  career, and has become a soccer and marketing icon. He started playing professionally with Manchester United in 1992 at age 17. He  has since played for Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, and the L.A. Galaxy. Beckham has played over 100 games for the English National team, playing in 3 World Cups (’98, ’02, ’06), and missing the 2010 World Cup due to a torn Achilles tendon.

It will be interesting to see where Beckham will continue his career as a player, and if he will return to the MLS as a team owner or manager. Meanwhile, we will continue to work to see if  we can see him bending a Senda Fair Trade ball, perhaps at an upcoming charity game..

Sam Cronin Interviewed by Santiago Halty

Sam Cronin, of San Jose Earthquakes, visits Senda’s Offices

Sam Cronin of the San Jose Earthquakes with Santiago Halty, Founder & CEO of Senda Athletics

Before the end of the 2012 Season, we had the chance to catch up with Sam Cronin, who has been a supporter of Senda since the very beginning, and has helped us test our different ball models. Here is a summary of our conversation!

 

Santiago – “Who are your soccer heroes?”

Sam  –

“…growing up, the player I always idolized was Paul Scholes from Manchester United so, try to mirror my game after his a little bit. I have a lot of respect for his loyalty to Man U, and just the quality of player he is.”

Santiago –“What would you say is the motto that you try to live by, your success motto?”

Sam  –

“I keep it pretty simple: I just try to improve every day, and give my best every day. I’m not a, kind of big picture guy, I just, focus on each day and make the most of each day and, it’s worked out for me so far.”

Santiago –“What has been your best moment as a soccer player?”

Sam

“I would probably say, professionally is probably making the playoffs in 2010, and beating New York in the first round which we weren’t expected to do, but a moment I’ll always cherish in my career is back in college, when our team won the national championship. Just the group of guys we had and all the work we put in as a team to get to that point was really special to win that together as a team.”

Santiago –“What team and what year was that?”

Sam

“That was Wake Forest University in 2007.”

Santiago –“ What has been your most difficult moment as a soccer player?”

Sam

“Yeah when I was in Toronto FC I had a pretty successful rookie season and the next year the new coach came in and, I just wasn’t in his plans. After a few months I was traded to San Jose, which has turned out to be a good situation for me. But in the short term back then, you know, whenever you’re traded its like you hit a cross road: it’s a defining moment whether you’re going to step things up and make the most of it or if, you’re gonna let that—the coach’s kinda lack of confidence in you, bleed over and affect your play.

It was a moment when I just really put my head back down, got to work again, and I’m happy with where things turned out now.”


Santiago –“How do you see soccer as a vehicle for social change? As a tool for changing people’s lives for the better?”

Sam

“I just think soccer is, as they say, is the world’s game. You go anywhere in the world and there are kids playing soccer and for the most part it brings smiles to their faces. It’s such a simple game, but a source of so much national pride and happiness for kids all over the world. So as a professional player I think I’m in a unique position to leverage that and to impact people’s lives, especially kids. I know when I was a kid I looked up to certain players and people and yeah, so I think soccer is a great vehicle to execute change in the world.”

Santiago –“You learned quite a few things about Fair Trade in Soccer since we first met a year and a half. Why do you think Fair Trade is important in Soccer?”

Sam

“I think it’s important in soccer but also in, in every other production in the world. I mean, you here so often, especially in recent years, about malpractice in terms of factories and workers across the world so, as the world continues to progress it’s important that no one is left behind, no countries are being victims of poor practices, especially in factories with cheap labor, so I think it’s important. And I think it’s great what Senda’s doing just to be active in that community, and hopefully more companies will take on the Fair Trade mentality.

 

Check out Sam Cronin testing Senda Soccer balls in San Francisco!!

Senda @ Candlestick Stadium: Great AMERICA SCORES Soccer Dribble

On September 29th, 2012, America SCORES cities nationwide joined forces to beat the Guinness World Record for the most soccer balls ever dribbled by a group at one time. There were 749 dribblers in San Francisco at the historic Candlestick Park, and 2,149 total across all participating America SCORES cities! Beating the old record of 2,068 set by the U.N. in Gaza Strip, America Scores successfully pulled of a truly incredible feat!

Senda Athletics provided ~250 custom for the America Scores record-breakers in San Francisco, and the record-breaking balls used are available online!

Lot of Senda soccer balls to help break the record!

Senda and Street Soccer USA partner to fight Homelessness

Senda: The Beginning of a (Soccer) Dream

After two years of hard work, sweat, and of working with amazing people from all over the world, I am excited to say we are officially ready to ship Senda Athletics Fair Trade Soccer balls.

Our brand new website is up and running, and we can take orders on-line, by email, fax, twitter and even in person! Getting here has been a fantastic adventure, and this is only the beginning!

I would love to share some parts of this adventure with you.

Continue reading “Senda: The Beginning of a (Soccer) Dream” »

Senda at the World Cup Screening @ Civic Center Plaza

On Sunday, July 17th, Senda was at the Women’s World Cup Screening @ Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Along with thousands of fans, we witnessed one of the most exciting games of the last decade: 120 minutes of action and players that left everything on the field. It was a great opportunity for Senda to interact with hundreds of people, tell them our story, get their suggestions (“make a purple ball!”), and see young players using our soccer balls on the field.

Who knows, maybe soon enough Senda will be the official provider of another international soccer tournament? Send us your suggestions!

During the entire World Cup, US players inspired a country to believe and fight until the very last minute, no matter the circumstances. Japan shared the same spirit in the final, and was a just winner.

Before the game, and during half-time, our friends at America Scores, organized soccer games for the children who went to see the game. Everyone who stopped by their tent had the chance to enter a raffle to win a Senda ball.

For the mini soccer games, everyone used our soccer balls, and the kids loved them! It’s always nice to see young people using Senda equipment. They are some of the first people to understand and embrace the importance of Fair Trade, and to get excited about our mission.

We had an excellent time at the Civic Center, and really enjoyed all the soccer energy present that day. Senda really believes in the power of soccer to change the lives of girls, so it fantastic to see all the support for women’s soccer. We are convinced that players can be very good role models for girls around the country, and even around the World, showing how determination, and team work can help achieve good results on and off the field.

US fans are proud of this team, and the Olympics are only 12 months away. In London 2012, once again, the USWNT will have an an entire country supporting them! We hope they will continue playing with the same team spirit and determination, and win the gold medal this time.

Senda on ABC7

Senda and SoccerFours Japan Relief Tournament in San Francisco

SoccerFours, which organizes community pick-up soccer games in San Francisco, put together a fundraiser for Japan on April 2nd, and Senda provided the soccer balls for the game. Our founder, Santiago, had a chance to hang out with SoccerFours’ Chris Hutchison, play in the tournament, and even acted as the official photographer for the event!

Almost 50 participated, and SoccerFours was able to raise $800 which will be donated to the American Red Cross and their efforts to help Japan.

Thanks to everyone that showed up and played!