For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 2010 World Cup "kicks off" tomorrow, and as the world watches and cheers on their respective teams, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) continues to use sports as a means to promote understanding and peace in the developing world. For many years, soccer (or football as it is known in the rest of the world) has been an integral part of the work that is done by USAID. The game of soccer has proven to be instrumental in bringing communities together, empowering youth, and teaching crucial life skills like teamwork, self-confidence and motivation to succeed.
Sports such as soccer play a significant role in cultures and communities around the world, and have the capacity to transform the lives of individuals. It bolsters physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being and development. There is a growing understanding that sports programs are powerful vehicles for achieving broader goals, particularly in advancing development and peace agendas.
Sports in general are a common language that can help bridge cultural, ethnic, and geographic divides. They can help people learn how to set and achieve goals through discipline and hard work. They nurture the development of decision-making and leadership abilities, while teaching people to manage both success and failure. People who participate in sports have the opportunity to improve their communication skills and gain valuable experience in collaboration and teamwork. Sports bring people together who might not otherwise have a chance to meet and allows them an opportunity to share their experiences and work together toward a common goal. These social skills and experiences are readily transferable to other aspects of life and may improve a person's ability to succeed as a student, employee, community member, or advocate for a particular cause.
Some examples of USAID-funded soccer activities include everything from funding soccer fields in Colombia to sponsoring peace tournaments in Kenya. Sports for Life is a program funded by USAID's War Victims Fund, which helps rehabilitate people with disabilities, including victims of landmines, and reintegrating them into society. These sports events bring together people with and without disabilities, enabling them to focus on a common love for the game rather than disabilities and differences.
USAID is committed to continuing to work with our missions and partners around the world to bring a unique focus on the world's youth through sports. USAID has launched a new website for all things soccer: http://www.usaid.gov/soccer/ and throughout the month of The World Cup we will highlight different USAID activities relating to this sport.
For more information about USAID and it's programs around the world, please visit: www.usaid.gov/.
Last updated: January 21, 2015