3 August 2017

streetfootballworld hosted the latest in its series of Beyond Soccer events in the USA this week with a star-studded panel during Major League Soccer’s All-Star Week in Chicago.


Beyond Soccer – Continuing the Conversation was a partnership between streetfootballworld, network member Grassroot Soccer and Beyond Sport and featured an intimate conversation with current and former athletes about their personal experiences of soccer as a tool for social change. 


Despite also having to prepare the MLS All-Star team to face Zinedine Zidane’s European Champions Real Madrid the very next day, MLS All-Star and Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunović kindly stopped by to share his experiences in using personal values to build a winning team, something he did to stunning effect when taking Serbia to the U20 FIFA World Cup title in 2015(and almost this week against Real Madrid!)


Samantha Johnson, defender with the NWSL league leaders Chicago Red Stars also gave her insight into the growth of the women’s game in the USA, her position as a role model for young players and women of colour and the value of athletes’ personal legacies.


The panel also got some valuable lessons in non-profit leadership from two streetfootballworld network members: Ethan Zohn, who played professionally in the USA and Africa before co-founding Grassroot Soccer, talked about the challenges of leading a successful organization from start-up to growth and how to evolve and adapt to changing situations.


Tony Sanneh, a former professional in the USA and Germany who played for the USA in the 2002 World Cup and later founded The Sanneh Foundation, talked about the challenges of starting a foundation and how, for many athletes who want to leave a legacy, it’s important they understand the impact they want to achieve and to research what programs are already out there that they could support.


The Beyond Soccer Series convenes leaders around how the world’s most popular sport can serve as an engine for social change. Started in 2011 by Beyond Sport and streetfootballworld, Beyond Soccer is an effort to grow belief, investment and collaboration in using soccer as a tool to address key issues across the globe.


Stay tuned for more information on the next edition of Beyond Soccer in the USA!

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