T.E.A.M. (Trabajando en Equipo Aprendemos Mas or Working as a team we learn more) Granada is a part of Soccer Without Borders (SWB) or Futbol Sin Fronteras (FSF), as it is known to locals. Soccer Without Borders' T.E.A.M. project sites aim to provide opportunities for girls to play soccer, meet and interact with peers, and enjoy the benefits associated with team sports. Through themed nights at the office, practices on the weekends, and an annual camp, girls develop key skills and a sense of belonging in a community that does not always offer them that opportunity.
The rules of T.E.A.M. Granada are simple:
1) Respect yourself, Respect each other
2) Dream Big
3) Challenge yourself, challenge each other
4) Have fun
The overarching goal of our work in Nicaragua and by creating T.E.A.M. sites around the world is to catalyze positive change through a cultural exchange using the medium of soccer. In the areas where we work, the target populations are socially isolated, economically disadvantaged, face great challenges of integration and inclusion in the workforce, and are often not encouraged to set high goals for their futures. Soccer provides an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth, and a toolkit for a brighter future. In Nicaragua, the target population is girls, particularly girls aged 10-14, although our membership ranges from 8-18 years old.
The specific action plan for T.E.A.M. Granada includes the following:
CREATE AND SUSTAIN OPPORTUNITIES FOR GIRLS SOCCER
-Maintain year-round practices for all girls, as well as opportunities for advanced development, skill development, and development of physical literacy
-Enter a Granada team in the Nicaraguan National League
-Host an annual camp for girls in January coached by US college soccer players and coaches
-Aid the establishment of girls’ soccer in other Nicaraguan cities by training coaches, providing equipment, and occasional special events
-Host coaches clinics around Nicaragua for interested parties that focus on developing coaching competency, development of youth, and leadership
-Support coaches through an equipment library
HOST EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
-Center programming around monthly themes including health, community, world cultures, friendship, teamwork, etc.
-Consistently reinforce the rules of FSF : Respect yourself, respect each other; Dream big; Challenge yourself, challenge each other
-Host weekly learning events at night in the office including girls’ night, language night, arts and crafts night, and movie night.
-Implement the Girls for a Change curriculum, encouraging an action team of older girls to take community change project annually.
PROVIDE SOCCER EQUIPMENT TO THE COMMUNITY
-Sustain a participation-based system for individual players to receive equipment based on participation in service and educational activities
-Continue to expand upon the items available
DEVELOP PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER KEY ACTORS
-Nicaragua Institute of Sports
-Nicaragua's Soccer Federation
PROVIDE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
-Coaches and referees
Soccer Without Borders believes that in order to affect change, a multi-faceted approach is critical, as the factors that deter change are complex. First and foremost, local buy-in and investment is the cornerstone. The T.E.A.M. concept affects change by systematically addressing the various obstacles that stand in the way of girls and women accessing the power of sport and using that power to pursue their goals.
T.E.A.M. Granada will ideally become a pilot program for other potential T.E.A.M. sites in Central and South America where women's soccer and women's empowerment is most needed. At the current time, T.E.A.M. Argentina and Guatemala are in the early stages of development.
Specifically, T.E.A.M. Granada:
Is INNOVATIVE in its collaboration between US players and coaches, Nicaraguan men and women, local and international non-profits, and the Nicaraguan soccer community
Makes a SOCIAL IMPACT by recognizing the complexity of social change and addressing more than a singular void, providing direct and indirect resources to the FSF community and the women's soccer community of Nicaragua as a whole.
Is SUSTAINABLE through its investment in the growth of young local leaders, the training of coaches, and the mobilization of financial and equipment support from US soccer players and communities.