U.S. Department of State Empowers Women and Girls Through Soccer and International Exchanges

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 24, 2011

Building on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision to empower women and girls worldwide, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ SportsUnited Office will host 18 girls and six coaches from Bolivia, Germany, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, and South Africa May 31-June 10 in New York City and Washington, D.C.

This international sports exchange leads up to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the kick-off to the 40th anniversary year of Title IX -- the U.S. law to provide equal opportunity for men and women in academics and athletics. The exchange also launches a SportsUnited series of international soccer initiatives that highlight the direct connection of empowering women and girls worldwide through sports.

The youth soccer players from around the world will attend a U.S. Women’s National Team training session and the Send-Off Match on June 5 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., prior to the team’s departure for the World Cup, which will be played in Germany from June 26 - July 17.

The international delegation will also engage with American youth by playing soccer with local U.S. teams. They will also meet with local community organizations that provide sports opportunities for youth with disabilities and mentorships through a soccer and literacy initiative.

This SportsUnited soccer exchange highlights the importance of what Secretary Clinton calls “smart power,” which uses the full range of diplomatic tools – in this case soccer – to bring individuals together and foster greater understanding among people and cultures.

In addition to this exchange, 2011 SportsUnited exchanges include:

  • Former U.S. Women National Team players Briana Scurry and Amanda Cromwell traveled as State Department Sports Envoys to Germany in early May. Click here for more information on their trip. Sports Envoys are active and retired professional U.S. athletes and coaches who travel overseas to conduct clinics, meet with underserved youth, participate in community events, and lead teambuilding exercises. In July, former U.S. Women’s National Team member Michelle French will travel to Brazil.
  • A delegation of coaches from Swaziland participated in a 10-day Sports Visitor program in mid-May, which brings international visitors to the United States for a short-term program, where they participated in clinics and teambuilding exercises, visited local schools, and attended a professional soccer match.
  • SportsUnited has also awarded several grants to organizations within the United States to conduct two-way international soccer exchanges. In June, a group of 15 Indonesian female soccer players, ages 15-18, will travel to California and Oregon, where they will visit the Nike Campus and meet with top women athletes and business leaders. In July, six American soccer experts and coaches will travel to Shanghai, China for ten days to implement coaching clinics and youth sports management training for Chinese coaches.

For more information, contact Talley Sergent, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs; SergentRT@state.gov; (202) 288-3124.

PRN: 2011/828