World Cup Blog: Creating a Legacy for The Beautiful Game

27 Jun

Editor’s note: Venues Today magazine has hired University of Florida student Philip Costa to write about his trip to South Africa with students from George Mason University.

Just the other day, we got a first-hand look at the importance of youth soccer in South Africa.  My classmates and I went to the Gansbaii Communal Sports Centre , which is a facility that was established to provide opportunities for the local youth to play different sports.

The Gansbaii was located in the middle of three different neighborhoods. The club works to provide a safe place for kids to learn and play, but also to expand the sports that different races play. Predominantly, soccer is a “black” sport and rugby is a “white” sport.  The Gansbaii are trying to break this stereotype in South Africa by providing opportunities to all types of people to play all types of sports.

On our visit we brought the children t-shirts and played soccer with them for a few hours.  Both of these were excellent experiences. The children were extremely thankful and happy, but i’m not sure who enjoyed it more… us or the kids.

It is programs like this that are doing great things in local communities and using the power of sport to change lives.  Whether it is kicking the ball around with a 3-year-old-girl or providing jerseys and tournaments for teens, the sports center is really making a difference in South Africa. The World Cup teaches us every  four years that soccer can bring people together, andt that is a message that they remember every day.

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