On July 16th-17th, San Francisco hosted the West Coast chapter of the annual Street Soccer USA Cup in Union Square, at the very heart of the city. This event came showcasing and supporting the soccer programs that Street Soccer USA does throughout the year in the Bay Area and across the nation.
Senda was present at the event, both as a supporter and partner of Street Soccer USA and as the official ball provider of the tournament for the past 3 years.The ball used at the event was the Rio Futsal size 4. Among the playing teams during the weekend were the SF Deltas, SF City, the Pink Panthers, Street Soccer San Francisco, many amateur teams and the Senda Team itself! The atmosphere was fun and friendly, and all participants united under the common principle of “playing for more than winning, sharing the passion for soccer“.
The mission of Street Soccer USA is to build life-changing, community-based sports programs that reach the underserved communities across the United States and beyond. The organization aims at providing an alternative to the pay-to-play model of youth sports with a focus on social impact, confidence building, and community empowerment. Street Soccer USA believes that, by creating safe places to play with trained, supportive and caring coaches, soccer can and will improve the capacity of participants to achieve bigger goals in terms of education and employment. Overall, Street Soccer USA provides many people with opportunities to thrive in a positive environment, brightening their lives on a daily basis.
This is one of the values at the core of Senda. Our mission is to promote social change through the beautiful game, with quality gear made ethically and supporting organizations doing good. That is why Street Soccer USA has been one of our non-profit partners for the past 5 years. By providing durable gear, helping in organizing community events and raising awareness about their members and missions, Senda actively elevates Street Soccer USA. We are proud to have that goal deeply embedded in our business model. And as a Senda supporter, with every purchase amplifying these movements, you can be proud of taking part in improving the world through soccer.
The second panel of speakers at the Beyond Soccer Series in San Francisco featured two female soccer icons: Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe of the US Women’s National Team, and Hel Say of Soccer Without Borders Oakland. The panel explored their work outside the pitch as role models and agents of change for issues such as equal pay, LGBTQ rights, and refugee crises.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: Mike Geddes (right), Managing Director of streetfootballworld USA chats with a panel including (L-R) US Womans Soccer players Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe along with Hel Say, head coach of Soccer Without Borders Oakland, at Beyond Soccer powered by streetfootballworld at SFJAZZ Center on June 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Recently the USWNT has gained traction in the media regarding equal pay. It’s a fact that the men’s side has been receiving significantly higher wages than the women, despite having the same employer, playing in equivalent competitions, and pretty much always being more successful. As one of the leading voices for women’s rights and gender equality, Hope Solo has spearheaded the debate. “Talks about taking a stand had been going on for a long time, but recently they had to just say ‘enough is enough’” she said. Perhaps the issue of playing on turf for the women’s world cup was a catalyst for the movement toward equality between national teams, but Solo thinks it can serve as an example for other industries as well. She said that the wage discrimination claim filed by the women’s team against the US Soccer Federation may take a long time in the legal process. She and her teammates are committed to playing in the Olympics this summer, but if things don’t change by the end of 2016, Solo asserted “we’re prepared to go on strike.” She also cited some important statistics about why equal pay should be given, which could serve as important details in the court process. Megan Rapinoe, also addressing her work for the LGBT community, says “forget the studies and data, when does it just become the right thing to do?” Rapinoe hits on an important point that at the end of the day these are social movements that requires a grassroots belief in equality for all. Perhaps a lawsuit by high profile celebrity athletes could do the job of drawing attention to the cause, and inspiring those who already believe to do more consequential work toward equality.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: Senda founder & CEO, Santiago Halty, with USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo, and a Senda mini ball.
On the topic of equality, Rapinoe agreed that fame can help garner support for the cause. “If you look at Hillary Clinton, she embodies our mission and what we’re trying to do here,” said Rapinoe. Clinton, like the USWNT, has had to work much harder in many aspects of her career to reach where she is today. The success and achievement of Clinton and the women’s national team have often been overshadowed by their male counterparts, but now they each have a chance to make real, enduring social change regarding gender.
The panel spoke about being role models to girls around the world. “The meaning of being a role model, to me, is to empower others to be themselves” said Hope Solo. Soccer Without Borders’ Ben Gucciardi served as one such role model to panelist Hel Say. Say grew up in a refugee camp on the Burma/Thailand border, and she was one of very few girls who played soccer. Many times, she said, boys didn’t allow the girls to play. When Hel Say arrived in the US as a 15-year old refugee, Ben gave her the chance to play soccer at no cost. “Thank God, I have a man who cares,” said Say. Ben gave her the opportunity to play the sport she loved without the stigma she had gotten growing up. Her involvement in sport was a big factor in helping her get an education and learning to speak English. “It helped me stay in school,” she said, “because soccer is always right after [school].” Say didn’t want to miss soccer training, so as a consequence she didn’t cut class or miss school. Her confidence certainly grew as a result of her education and involvement in soccer. She sat on stage with two of the most popular female athletes in the US, and did a fantastic job answering questions and telling stories in her non-native language, English. Hel Say is now a coach for SWB Oakland, and the roles have been reversed. The girls of SWB now see her as a role model, saying they want to be like her when they grow up.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: US Womans Soccer player Megan Rapinoe addresses the audience while on stage with teammate Hope Solo (L) and Hel Say, head coach of Soccer Without Borders Oakland, at Beyond Soccer powered by streetfootballworld at SFJAZZ Center on June 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
One of the key pieces to Hel Say’s story is her passion for soccer, and the fun that she had with SWB. She humbly asked the other two stars how they got where they are today, and Rapinoe offered her advice. “Kids need to enjoy what they’re doing. 99% of kids won’t play pro, so enjoy the moment now, it’s about growing as a person, not just winning,” said Rapinoe. Joy is one of pillars behind Senda’s goal of changing the world through soccer. The idea of playing for joy over competition was shared by Hope Solo when she talked about her favorite soccer game she ever played in. She told the story about the game against Japan, which the USA lost in penalty kicks in the Women’s World Cup Final. Japan had just suffered a terrible tragedy when a tsunami hit the Japanese coast not long before the game. Solo acknowledged that it hurt to lose the game, but the loss was made less painful by the incredible story of the Japanese playing for their nation and becoming a symbol of resiliency.
Perhaps the overarching theme of this second panel discussion is that sport has the power to transcend social and political issues, and serve as a unifying medium in life. The all-inclusive nature of sport is what has allowed all these women to succeed, and one of their objectives is to grow this idea of inclusivity and equality so that more people can experience what soccer has given to their lives.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: US Womans National Soccer players Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo are interviewed by media at Beyond Soccer, powered by streetfootballworld, at SFJAZZ Center on June 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Here at Senda, we want to keep this conversation going. What is the power of sport? How has soccer changed your life? Feel free to tag Senda on social media and share your thoughts using #morethanagame #morethanaball #playjoyfully and #futbolunitesus.
On June 23rd, Senda had the pleasure of participating in the Beyond Soccer Series in San Francisco, a networking event for soccer organizations and social enterprises empowering them to work together. The event is part of Beyond Sports, a body aimed at inspiring positive social change through sport. The event perhaps couldn’t have occurred at a better time considering the spotlight that the Copa America Centenario shed on soccer in the USA. It was a fantastic opportunity for Senda to connect with local and international organizations and be part of an ongoing conversation about the influence of sport.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: Guests socialize at Beyond Soccer powered by streetfootballworld at SFJAZZ Center on June 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
The first hour of the event was a cocktail hour networking opportunity for various guest organizations. Senda was one of many organizations with a table display, including our nonprofit partners, Street Soccer USA and Soccer Without Borders, as well as some other like-minded businesses such as The American Outlaws, and The Third Half. We also had the chance to speak with many local soccer, tech, and socially conscious organizations: San Jose Earthquakes, SF Deltas, SF City FC, Google, Only Six Degrees, Kick4Life, Bay Area Girls Unite, and many more.
Following the networking portion were two panels of speakers in a moderated forum. [Part one of this blog post speaks about the first panel where Amanda Vandervort, Dave Kaval, and Jeffrey Mallet spoke about the intersections between tech innovation and soccer.] Vandervort, vice president of social media and customer relationship management for Major League Soccer (MLS), talked about the power of social media networks, particularly Twitter and Snapchat, as tools to engage fans at specific times. These tools allow users to effectively create a narrative and document their experiences in a way that people can identify with. Utilizing these platforms could be a way for businesses like Senda to move conversations about social responsibility forward.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JUNE 23: A panel including (L-R) Amanda Vandervort, Vice President of Fan Engagement and CRM at MLS, Jeffrey Mallett, co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Dave Kaval, President of the San Jose Earthquakes, chats at Beyond Soccer powered by streetfootballworld at SFJAZZ Center on June 23, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Dave Kaval, president of the San Jose Earthquakes, added that the Twitter accounts with the largest number of followers belong to athletes. He proposed a challenge to those athletes to “lead the way, rise to the occasion” and participate in these important conversations about social issues. It just comes to show how the tech industry has a tremendous potential to grow the dialogue and make these topics more inclusive and accessible to people all over the world.
When the panelists were asked if the MLS is taking an entrepreneurial outlook, Kaval answered that “soccer is the only major sport [in the US] that hasn’t been figured out yet.” In other words, there’s room to grow within the MLS, and we need to take an innovative approach to growing soccer in the US in a successful way.
For Jeffrey Mallet, co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps and previous investor in Derby County Football Club in England, “the difference between the MLS and the Premier League in England is generational. Your father and mother and uncle all went to games growing up [in England]” and so children grow up with a certain familial attachment to a team and/or the stadium, much in the same way that the other major sports are in the US today. However, in US soccer we are having to create this love and passion for the sport from scratch, and that’s what makes it such a challenge.
The San Jose Earthquakes’ found a way to ignite this passion in their new stadium. “Avaya [was designed to have] social gathering spaces at various points throughout the stadium, including the largest outdoor bar in North America” said Kaval. The design of the stadium takes into account the different ways that fans watch the game, but also the ways they interact with each other. This seems to be an attempt to create a soccer environment that is for everyone, and all inclusive. “That’s the power of sport,” Kaval added.
Furthermore, Kaval believes that professional teams should make an effort to connect with the local community. One way the Earthquakes have attempted to connect with the community is through their shirt sponsor, Sutter Health. They felt that Sutter reflects some core values of the community, as opposed to just any corporate sponsor. Senda has talked a lot about the commercial issue of shirt sponsors. When big clubs in Europe choose shirt sponsors like betting companies, it tarnishes the values of the sport. Senda would much prefer sponsors that allude to a more noble cause, such as Unicef on past Barcelona shirts. For the Earthquakes, these types of values have the potential to turn their stadium into a type of a social mecca and a complete experience rather than just a match venue. At Senda we’ve played with the idea to put the names of our nonprofit partners on jerseys to advocate for the grassroots side of soccer. Donations to nonprofit partners are one way that Senda directly contributes to the local community, reflecting one of the core values that we’ve included in the brand new Senda soccer ball design, “Community,” “Joy,” and “Respect.”
In part two of the Beyond Soccer Series blog post, we will talk about the second panel of speakers: Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe from the US Women’s National Team, and Hel Say of Senda’s local nonprofit partner Soccer Without Borders’ Oakland chapter. Stay tuned!
Sweet Summer means Beach Soccer! On June 11th-12th, Senda took part in the 12th AnnualPro-Am Santa Cruz Open in California. This is the biggest Beach Soccer Tournament in Northern California, and the Senda Playa Beach Soccer Ballwas the official game ball for the 4th consecutive year. Some of the best youth clubs in the area participated, including ACC Mavericks, Almaden FC, Ballistic United SC, Dublin United, San Ramon, SF Vikings, and East Bay Tottenham Spurs, among others. Want to get an idea of how awesome this event is? Check out the video further on!
Beach Soccer, also known as Beach Football, has grown incredibly popular over the past few years in the U.S. and all around the world. Literally, anywhere you can find a parcel of sand and soccer loving people, you can be sure to find teammates to play Beach Soccer with. That includes a lot of places, and a lot of people, in the Beach Soccer community.
Quoting Beach Soccer USA: “Each team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper and an unlimited amount of substitutions, from a selection of 3 to 5 players. […] A game lasts 36 minutes and is split up into three 12 minute periods. […] The pitch is considerably smaller than a regular football pitch, of rectangular shape, and the touch line is longer than the goal line.” While keeping all the joy of soccer and allowing you to take the game anywhere, Beach Soccer emphasises skill, agility, and shooting at goal, which makes it a very active and exciting version of the game.
The ball is designed with 6 large water resistant panels which provide a soft, abrasion resistant ball. Minimizing the number of panels allows for better impact with barefoot play. Each panel is hand stitched, providing tighter and stronger seams, and extended durability with higher performance; Intended for gameplay on sand (and alternative grass games).
The ball features 4 layers of polyester/cotton hybrid linings placed between the cover and the latex bladder to help the ball retain its shape and bounce. An inflatable latex bladder offers the softest feel and provides better surface tension. Last but not least, all Senda balls are
Last but not least, all Senda balls are Fair Trade Certified, ensuring all workers receive at least the national minimum wage, that there is no child labor involved and that the health and safety of workers are safeguarded.
Senda’s Fair Trade Playa Beach Soccer Ball is guaranteed to provide you could with the best playing experience on the beach this summer – and for the many more to come! See you on the sand, enjoy the sun and #PlayJoyfully!
Senda is excited to share this blog post from our ambassador and freestyler, Anthony Dillard, expressing his passion for soccer through amazing tricks and presenting some other outstanding members of this community.
“My name is Anthony Dillard and I’m a Senda Ambassador and soccer freestyler. Recently, I had the opportunity to gather up some of my closest friends of the soccer freestyle community to do a ‘Futbol Unites Us‘ video. The first freestyler featured in the video is Kaleb Day. About a year ago, by the use of Instagram, I found an upcoming soccer freestyler from the state of Alabama. At the time I lived in Memphis, so it would be a four-hour drive to meet him. I decided to go! I had an awesome time, and since then, Kaleb has been an awesome friend who inspires me to strive for my best. He has a natural talent with soccer tricks and is really good at ‘lowers’ which is using the lower part of the body to achieve crazy movement tricks. Kaleb has been called the ‘Alabama Freestyle King‘ and I back that 100%! I am grateful to have a friend like Kaleb who I can talk, laugh, and freestyle with.”
“The second person featured in the video is Caitlyn Schrepfer. I had the pleasure to meet Caitlyn at the 2014 USA Soccer Freestyle Championships in Seattle. I had previously seen her tricks in a couple of videos, but meeting her in person was awesome. I was amazed by her skill level. Caitlyn freestyles in California and finished her freshmen year at Whittier College where she played a year of college soccer. Caitlyn has an incredible future ahead of her with freestyle, so make sure to keep up with her future posts! In the video, Caitlyn kicks the ball to me, and I then send it off to one of my favorite people!”
“Khoa Nguyen is a freestyler I have followed for years on social networks! He has unbelievable talent and control recognized internationally, but beyond that he is definitely one of the nicest and most encouraging people you could ever meet. As I was a beginning freestyler, Khoa would watch all my posted videos, give me praise for tricks that were executed well, and give me advice for getting better. I took his advice seriously and he would note improvements on later posted videos. Not only did I get the opportunity to meet Khoa in Seattle but I also got to compete against him in the first round of the USA championship! Khoa won the entire championship that year, but also he expressed so much excitement at my performance in our battle together. Competing against one of my freestyle Idols in my first ever competition is something I’ll never forget. Now in 2015 Khoa was AGAIN named USA championship in Chicago!”
“All the people mentioned in this article are people that I am united with through life and I am so glad to have them represented in the ‘Futbol Unites Us‘ campaign! Special thanks to Ben Brubaker who crafted this awesome video!
On June 4th-5th, the Bay Area Outreach Program (BORP) Power Soccer hosted their final games of the season in Berkeley, California. Many teams answered the call to rejoice around the passion for playing, including the Thunderchairs who came all the way from Canada! The Shockers had some shining moments, and The Crushers achieved amazing results thanks to their new strategy, but overall each team and every single player performed spectacular soccer.
Power Soccer is the first competitive team sport designed and developed specifically for everyone who uses a power wheelchair. Power Soccer combines the skills of the person with the speed and power of the chair, to create a fun, competitive, and accessible opportunity to play the most popular sport in the world. Power Soccer is a team sport that helps build character through teamwork, communication, training, perseverance, and good sportsmanship.
Senda has been a proud support of BORP and Power Soccer for several years. Part of the reasons why we put so much energy into our business is to be able to better empower such organizations and wonderful people that help spread the joy of soccer to everybody. Senda just released its latest Power Soccer Ball, which received great feedback from the players who were very satisfied with the weight of the ball, perfectly adapted to their game style.
We are looking forward to the next Power Soccer season and are excited about this ever growing community of inspiring athletes sharing the passion for soccer. Stay tuned, get involved and support Power Soccer Teams at http://www.borp.org/power-soccer-calendar/
On June 23rd, the Beyond Soccer Series powered by our friends at streetfootballworld will gather key leaders and influencers in the U.S. soccer industry in San Francisco for the first time ever for what will be an insightful evening of discussion, collaboration, and connection.
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 22: (L-R) Managing Director at streetfootballworld USA and panel moderator Mike Geddes, former professional football player and Western Union Pass Ambassador Patrick Vieira, and professional football player with New York City FC Jeb Brovsky, speak at the Beyond Soccer Series Powered By streetfootballworld at Thomson Reuters Building on June 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Beyond Soccer Series)
U.S. soccer stars Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe have signed up for the Beyond Soccer Series, powered by streetfootballworld. The World Cup and Olympic champions will join leading figures from sport, business and philanthropy to explore the powerful ability of soccer to break down barriers, generate awareness, and affect sustainable and enduring change in communities worldwide.
Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo clap as the audience welcomes them home during their homecoming ceremony before the soccer game between Seattle Reign and West New York Flash at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Seattle. Rapinoe and Solo did not compete in the game. (Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)
Dating back to 2011, the Beyond Soccer Series powered by streetfootballworld was developed to discuss America’s fastest growing sport and how to capitalize on the global popularity of the game to create positive global change. The 2015 series took place in New York City and discussed the power of the athlete as well as the importance of diversity and inclusion. Key speakers included UNICEF USA CEO Caryl Stern, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter, NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieria and MLS stars Jeb Brovsky, Michael Lahoud, and Sean Johnson.
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 22: Former professional football player and Western Union Pass Ambassador, Patrick Vieira, speaks with press at the Beyond Soccer Series Powered By streetfootballworld at Thomson Reuters Building on June 22, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Beyond Soccer Series)
The first event of 2016 will have an audience of senior representatives from professional leagues, clubs, brands, business, and media. The goal of the first event of the 2016 Series will be to deeply explore the digital world in sport and its ability to shape how soccer can be used to tackle global issues. After an exclusive networking hour with key figures from the soccer industry as well as from the local San Francisco business crowd, a high-level panel will take place with influential leaders and players discussing soccer, pressing societal issues, technological innovation, and the relationship between all three.
The Senda Team is proud to present our last post in the “Living Your Values” Blog Series. As part of this ongoing series, we are interviewing team members of organizations we admire to learn about why they do what they do, and how they are making a difference through social entrepreneurship. This week, we are excited to introduce Tal Dehtiar, founder of Oliberté Shoes Canada.
Enjoy the story, and enter the giveaway to win a hand crafted pair of Oliberté Shoes and Senda Apex Match ball at the bottom of this page!
What’s the unique innovation that your organization brings to the market?
We’re the first and only Fair Trade Certified footwear factory. We create our shoes and bags in Ethiopia and source the majority of our materials from within the continent of Africa. We train our team members in a way that gives them the opportunity to provide ethical jobs for future generations, creating the path for a truly sustainable economy. A huge part of what we do is to show others that you can do business fairly and with respect and still succeed in today’s business world.
What inspired you to be a part of Oliberté?
I launched Oliberté in 2009 I wanted to create a sustainable lifestyle brand that supports workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. We are focused on many, but one core goal: job creation. We currently employ 110 factory workers in Ethiopia, all of whom are paid a fair wage (our factory was Fair Trade Certified in 2013) and enjoy many other benefits.
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What part of your job brings you joy each day?
Knowing that a lasting difference is being made. Building a team that’s helping to create sustainable jobs in a place where there was once few opportunities for lasting change. Growing a company that encourages creative freedom and is transparent in such a way that its easy to see the direct impact of the decisions we make every day. It’s also inspiring to be a part of an entire community of likeminded individuals and businesses that believe strongly in creatively redesigning the way things are done.
What steps do you take to live a more sustainable life?
Supporting Fair Trade Certified partners whenever possible; seeing the amount of work that goes into ensuring that things are done properly and with respect through Fair Trade USA certification has shaped the way I look at products I see day to day. I’m careful to fill my environment with things designed and built to last, i’ve always subscribed to the idea that it’s worth the investment in the short run to buy quality things, made with care and responsibly, rather than having to buy the same thing again and again if quality is sacrificed for price.
Besides, Oliberté, what is your favorite Fair Trade product and why?
I really admire Patagonia for their initiatives in ethical business, environmental stewardship and the simple fact that after being around for so long, they still haven’t lost sight of the bigger picture.
What is your favorite sports memory?
As a kid…Mario Lemieux dancing through the Minnesota North Stars during the 1991 Stanley Cup Finals.
Now…what else. Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista’s bat flip during the American League Division Series against Texas Rangers.
What do you think Senda contributes to the Fair Trade movement?
There are a lot of hoops to jump through to be a part of the Fair Trade Movement as businesses; the certification provides opportunities for education, community building and simply changing the way things are done so that we leave the world a better place for the people who come after us. Being a part of the Fair Trade movement says so much about the people involved on any level, whether its on the manufacturing side or through supporting Fair Trade businesses by being a conscious consumer, the contributions are numberless and widespread. Through the encouragement of thinking differently, Senda brilliantly connects passionate people through soccer and gives them the opportunity to support a global movement of doing things with respect for the people who inevitably succeed through their combined efforts.
Soccer Without Borders is pleased to announce Senda Athletics, a global leader in producing premium hand-stitched Fair Trade Certified soccer balls, as the “Official Game Ball” of all Soccer Without Borders games and events. Senda started with a clear goal: disrupt the industry by embracing Fair Trade, bringing back craftsmanship, promoting joyful play, and improving lives along the way. Choosing to invest in those who produce their products and partnering with sport for development organizations likeSoccer Without Bordersto give 1% back to the game.
“Our partnership with Senda has been strong throughout the last six years, and we are thrilled to take it to the next level,” said Mary McVeigh, Executive Director of Soccer Without Borders. “They share in our commitment to using soccer as a vehicle for positive change, and this partnership aims to strengthen both of our abilities to do just that.”
Our Founder Santiago Halty has even laced up his cleats to come out and coach at the SWB Oakland Refugee Community Camp.
“ As a big admirer of Soccer Without Borders’ work to improve the lives of young refugees, it is an honor to have Senda become their Official Game Ball.” said Santiago. “With the support of our customers, Senda can ensure that Soccer Without Borders participants have quality gear to play like the true team that they are.”
Soccer Without Borders uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the United States and abroad. Soccer Without Borders combines soccer play and instruction with educational support, team-building, civic engagement, and cultural exchange in a year-round program that authentically shifts outcomes. This holistic approach supports under-served youth to advance academically, develop personally, build social capital, lead healthy lifestyles, and acquire English language skills. Soccer Without Borders’ work was awarded the 2016 Lipman Family Prize by the Wharton School of Business, and was recognized by the White House for its work with refugee youth.
To celebrate, Senda have released a limited edition “Playing for Change” ball in honor of Soccer Without Borders 10 year anniversary, which can be orderedat www.soccerwithoutborders.org/shop. Every purchase supports Soccer Without Borders programs to provide the coaching, transportation, educational support, healthy snacks, and other resources necessary to convert the passion the ball inspires into positive change for under-served youth.
Soccer is a sport, but it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to bring together people of different cultures, nationalities, languages and socioeconomic backgrounds in a shared spirit of community and competition. These are people who might not otherwise cross paths, but as players they overlap, link up and combine on the field or court and grow relationships after the whistle.
San Francisco Bay area-based Senda Athletics and Durham Atlético not only understand that potential, both organizations were founded on it. That makes Senda Fair Trade USA-certified balls the natural choice for the growing adult futsal league.
Senda founder Santiago Halty brought the brand’s new 2016 line to the Levin JCC on match day to give DA players the chance to be among the first to play with them in competition.
The Senda Victoria Match Ball and Senda Rio Club Ball each feature the words “community,” “joy,” and “respect” to show the brand’s values, says Santiago Halty, Senda’s CEO and founder.
“We hope that when people are playing and the game gets a little heated you look down and you see that written small and you’re like, ‘That’s right, I play for joy. I’m a part of community. I should have respect for my teammates and the referee when there are a couple of bad calls,’” he says.
After finding the soccer field as his comfort zone and way to connect with others while away from home, Halty sought to create balls and gear that provides the same sort of opportunity for those who produce it.
He located a factory in Pakistan, where 70 percent of the world’s balls are made, with workers who are given a living wage in suitable conditions to craft products by hand.
Senda pays a Fair Trade premium, meaning 10 percent of the cost of each ball goes toward a community fund that workers can use for commodities like tea, oil, sugar, beans, backpacks and glasses.
The balls not only give back in Pakistan, but in the United States through partnership with nonprofits like Street Soccer USA, which supports homeless players, Soccer Without Borders and its mission to help underserved refugee and immigrant youth, and the Bay Area Outreach Program (BORP) wheelchair power soccer program.
Senda provides contributions to all three partners via the 1% For the Game Initiative, their commitment to take that percentage of annual sales and donate them in gear.
Similarly, Durham Atlético archtects and incubators David Fellerath and Kosta Harlan began their league as a means to connect the Bull City’s diverse residents and “return soccer to its roots.”
They turned to futsal because of a lack of available urban field space.
Their league fees go to support retrofitting fields with new goals, nets and the needed upkeep and, ultimately, create new ones.
“We really came at this with a goal of creating a space for people of all social backgrounds to play soccer,” Fellerath says.
“Then when it came time to choose what ball we would use for our league, the fact that Senda manufactures Fair Trade balls caught our eye because Fair Trade to us indicates that this is a manufacturer that cares about its product, cares about the conditions of the factory where the product comes from and is trying to operate in a soccer ecosystem where everyone shares equally in the joys and the benefits of soccer.”
Halty said he’s “really humbled,” that DA chose Senda and that it “shows that we are getting traction with like-minded people.”
“We need to start working with more groups that are looking at soccer as a way to do more than just provide leisure time.”
PERFORMING AT ELITE LEVEL
Futsal is the most rapidly growing format of soccer in the United States. The 5v5 set-up not only serves as an ideal way to play in winter months, but is a faster game with more touches on the ball for each player.
U.S. Soccer is promoting it as a means for more technical skill development, following what’s also standard practice in Halty’s home country where Lionel Messi grew up playing small-sided.
It’s spreading if Durham Atlético provides any kind of a case study.
In just 14 months, they’ve gone from 60 players and six teams to a two-division format including 160 futsalers ranging from teenagers to 50-year-old competitors on 16 squads.
“It’s fun, and it’s part of the Durham community, which is awesome."
The Durham Atlético matches, while friendly, can be intense. Among the growing rosters are former futsal professionals and accomplished players like Mollie Pathman, a member of the NWSL’s Boston Breakers and 2010 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year.
Futsal provides a new challenge for her, she says, with less running and more demand to beat players 1v1 with ball skill.
“You see the really savvy soccer players and you are able to pick them out from those who could survive in an 11v11 game,” says Pathman, who suits up for MVFC.
Pathman’s Duke women’s soccer teammate Natashi Anasi also plays for MVFC. She was twice an NSCAA All-America, just the second Blue Devil to achieve the feat, and now a professional with IBV of Iceland.
Leagues and players choose Senda not just for the feel good story, but also for performance. We dissected Senda balls in 2015 to show what makes them elite.
They meet the standards of the U.S. Youth Futsal Association, who use them for regional and national matches. They are low bounce with a synthetic leather cover for control in tight spaces.
A photo posted by Senda Fair Trade Soccer Balls (@sendaathletics) on
Both Pathman and Anasi said they impressed with the new Senda line and the connection between the brand and the league.
“The weight of the ball actually was a little less heavy but it was really comfortable to play with,” Anasi said. “You could get a really pure strike and you could also move the ball and get really good control of it.”
Added Pathman, “There’s good cushioning on the ball and I think it helped everyone’s touch today.”
“Their mission is the fun of the game, which is why we’re all out here playing win or lose,” she said. “We’re just trying to have a good time and learn more about futsal. It’s a nice reminder to see on the ball.”