Ugandans are soccer mad! Football is also an excellent arena to develop leadership skills as well as to learn to work together in a team. It teaches discipline and punctuality (to be on time for games and training!) as well as being great for fitness and a place to make lifelong friends.
Our coach, Fred, has a passion for our kids and football like you've never seen. He has regular players in three teams, with subs, and extras who come along regularly, though on a more casual basis. He has also registered our teams in local competitions, which has been awesome for morale and focus, especially when we win!
Fred has also taken on a role as a mentor for our boys, using soccer as a platform for outreach. We have relocated our soccer programme to Ggaba (from Bbunga) as there is a larger number of vulnerable youths here who are in desperate need of encouragement and a positive male role model. As well as the clear focus on soccer, Fred runs talks on various issues important to youth and helps engage those who would otherwise be on the street, out of school, and with little other focus in their lives. We hope to see a real positive change in the youth community here.
We have been fortunate to have support from a school team in Michigan and the Cambridge Football Club (NZ), who have donated gear including equipment and uniforms. We are super excited to now have regular sponsorship from the Cambridge Foot Clinic in New Zealand. This helps hugely with costs for tournaments, as well as to provide equipment as required (you can see in the pictures the local field we practice on is more gravel than grass!).