October 5, 2013. Coaches Across Continents takes you to the far northeast corner of Papua, Indonesia to the city of Jayapura. Coaches Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley are learning just how big a country Indonesia is, as they land in a region vastly different from the fast-paced, traffic center that was Jakarta. This program marks the first year working with EMSYK Uni Papua, a football club making their presence known throughout the province. Both sides are excited about the future of this promising partnership, as the first week of two (one in Jayapura, one on Biak Island) started us off strong.
A city teeming with roadside venders selling Beetlenuts, bananas, and local staples like the infamous Martabak, a butter-soaked pancake made savory or sweet with add-ins like chocolate, milk, or cheese, Jayapura sets a rich tone. Previously made well aware of the region’s love for football, Brian and Nora were excited to see it manifest among the coaches and young players at EMSYK.
After navigating the slender streets and the motorbikes that own the roads, the CAC team along with the wonderfully helpful EMSYK staff, arrived at a pitch wrought from some sacred football legend. A thick grass field enclosed by tall tropical trees, watched over by rolling hills and mountains as if to protect it from taint, welcomed us to the world of football in Papua. The warm tropical air means that you are constantly sweating – but you could not dream up a better place to call the office.
The week of training saw small numbers for coaches compared to other programs, but they were a good group, eager to learn from our CAC staff. A few hundred Marta and Ronaldo skills later and the week was a great start to our work in Papua. Along with training coaches from eight different clubs in the region, Brian and Nora visited four different schools in the community where they played CAC games, sweat so much it looked like it rained, and had a blast with junior high and high school kids from Jayapura. CAC can only expect more of the great hospitality, warm welcomes, and passion for football on Biak Island as we continue to build our partnership with EMSYK Uni Papua.