Sunday, May 16, 2010

Coaching with the Mtuba Football Academy

By far one of the most enjoyable aspects of my year in South Africa has been coaching with the Mtuba Football Academy (MFA). Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday myself and 4 other volunteer coaches run training sessions for 120 kids, spread across 6 age groups (Under 10, U/12, U/13, U/14, U/15, and U/17). 90% of the players are Zulu kids from Mtuba's township or some of the nearby villages and, I'm telling you, the talent here is huge; I get tested just playing in the practice scrimmages with the 13- and 14-year olds on the U-15 squad. That might not be the best example because its probably more of a testament to how badly I've fallen out of being "soccer match fit" than it is to their serious skill. Regardless, they are awesome and I really look forward to every practice.

Here are just a few pictures of the academy and the kids in case anybody is interested in something I've spending almost all my free time working on and thinking about. This time with MFA has definitely put

I'm currently working to try to raise some funds to help with the running of the academy: purchasing badly-needed equipment, covering gas to drive the kids back to their township and village homes at night, and renting a bus to take 100 of the Academy players to the Japan vs. Netherlands World Cup match in Durban (right around the corner!). Because many of the MFA players come from disadvantaged backgrounds, things like team trips and even soccer boots are prohibitively expensive. Thus, I'd also like some of the raised funding to go towards sponsoring necessary expenses for individual players whose family's just can't afford certain items.

If anybody is interested in donating to help support and grow the Mtuba Football Academy, I've got a "Donate Now" button linked to this blog (on the right hand side of the screen), processed securely through Google Checkout. Normally, funds donated through that button go towards general fundraising for my volunteer expenses. However, from now on I'll assume that any donations are for the Mtuba Football Academy and I will use the funds for Academy-related projects.

Here's a picture to break the monotony of text. Me and four of the Under-10 players I coach:

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