Esto es Cartagena

P1070842February 24, 2014. After a week hiatus back at the CAC Global Headquarters in Florida, 2014 programs resumed once again in the Western Hemisphere, but this time in Spanish! Three CAC coaches set their sights on South America including two senior staff, Sophie Legros and Nora Dooley, and one volunteer, Tomas Torres-Tarver of One World Futbol.

The trio of 23 year-olds landed in Colombia ready for a week of football, social impact, and maybe a little bit of dancing in the beautiful city of Cartagena. This week would be our third year working with Colombianitos, but our first with their team in Cartagena, the past two years taking place in Puerto Tejada.

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We could not have asked for a more welcoming introduction to our three weeks in Latin America. Colombianitos is an incredible organization that already does great work with children using sport for development. Our games are a perfect fit for this group as they seek to do more teaching on the field, developing young leaders while developing young footballers.

The participants in Cartagena were made up mostly of Colombianitos youth that the staff believe are up-and-coming leaders in their organization. The head coach of this team, Alfredo, who also hosted our three coaches at his apartment for the week, is the epitome of a role model in his community. We could not walk down a street without at least ten people stopping him to have a chat, or him going out of his way to engage with an acquaintance.

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This man treats everyone like family and it was obvious how much the young players look up to him. We owe Alfredo a big thank you for making us feel so completely at home in a foreign environment and helping in the rather quick process of making our team fall in love with a new country.

We were also joined by a Colombianitos coach from Puerto Tejada, Mauro, who is already a professional at coaching football for social impact. Maybe this is due to our previous work with him and the rest of the Puerto Tejada coaches, but it was evident how much Mauro has retained from our trainings and how much he coaches our curriculum – and the games he has adapted! – throughout the year. Mauro and Alfredo are both well on their way to becoming self-directed learners and if we return to work with Colombianitos next year, inventing new games will be the priority.

Sad to leave such a beautiful country with such an electric energy, music pulsing wherever you go, our three coaches turn their attentions to Mexico for two weeks with two different One World Futbol partners… and maybe a beach house somewhere along the way, vamos a la playa!

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