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Austria Wien shared know-how in Colombia

At the end of March, the Football Club Social Alliance (FCSA) returned to Colombia with Academy Administrator and FCSA Instructor Robert Urbanek. During the follow-up in Cartagena, young coaches who had already been trained were able to refresh their knowledge and at the same time learn new training content with a focus on the inclusion of children with disabilities.

©Football Club Social Alliance

After a pandemic-related break of more than two years - the FCSA and Austria Wien were last in Mexico in February 2019 - an international project of the Football Club Social Alliance could finally take place again from March 31 to April 4. For this purpose, Robert Urbanek and Peter Quast of Bayer 04 Leverkusen traveled to the Colombian coastal town of Cartagena.

There, they met 39 Colombians involved in children's soccer, mainly young coaches who had already been trained in 2015/16, as well as selected peer young coaches who had been trained over the past few years. This resulted in a lively exchange on "best practices" on and off the soccer field.

Important refresher and great festivals

To ensure a successful follow-up, the instructors worked closely with the Scort Foundation and the local partner organization Fundación Colombianitos. Together, during the four-day training, soccer elements as well as locally relevant topics were taught in practical sessions and workshops.

The focus was on refreshing existing knowledge and on the inclusion of children with disabilities in soccer activities. In addition, the 39 participants received an introduction to impact measurement in order to better understand and communicate the positive influence of their activities on the children and their communities.

In order to be able to directly implement the newly gained knowledge, soccer festivals with children from the surrounding area were organized for the third and fourth day. For the first festival 27 children with impairments were invited, for the second festival about 120 children without impairments participated. In the end, the Young Coaches were able to travel back to their communities with new and more in-depth knowledge in their luggage and pass this on themselves in the future.

Comments on the follow-up in Colombia

Robert Urbanek: "The festival with the children with disabilities was the highlight of this workshop for me. Every time it's great to see what the kids take away, how happy they are and how the coaches are fully involved. That's why we're here."

Juliana, Young Coach: "I decided to participate in this follow-up because it enriches me as a coach but also as a person. I always want to learn more. I am very motivated to get better at what I do every day. This is really an incredible opportunity for me. This experience allowed me to learn from very experienced coaches."

Alfredo, Young Coach: "For us, it is really very important to have access to this kind of training despite the Covid 19 pandemic. The discussion in which we reflected on the challenges of the pandemic and possible solutions was extremely interesting for me. Because it is a matter that affects everyone. So it was very important for me to see what different methods my friends and colleagues are using in this situation."

Jacobo, Young Coach: "I am a physical education teacher and I work with people who are blind or have learning disabilities. What I learned here I will definitely be able to use with my students in the future. I want to plan my lessons better from now on."

Angie, Young Coach: "As a coach, I learned a lot of technical things and the kids showed me that they can accomplish anything. The only thing you have to have is the will to try. For example, if a child with an impairment is new to my school, I can include them from now on because I know more. I already have some ideas on how to include all the kids."

Football Club Social Alliance

The Football Club Social Alliance is a partnership launched by the Scort Foundation between Austria Wien, FC Basel, Werder Bremen, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Schalke 04 and Mainz 05.

The aim of this alliance is to train young people to become youth soccer coaches, so-called Young Coaches. To this end, instructors from the member clubs regularly travel to selected locations and pass on their knowledge and expertise to locals. In addition to soccer skills, social skills are also taught.