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U.S.-Brazil Priorities

U.S.-Brazil Sports Partnership

Youth membes of the Shooting Stars program, a partnership between the U.S. Consulate General in São Paulo, SESC, and Associação Alumni that offers to 40 selected kids free courses of basketball, English and leadership skills. (Photo: U.S. Consulate SP)

Youth membes of the Shooting Stars program, a partnership between the U.S. Consulate General in São Paulo, SESC, and Associação Alumni that offers to 40 selected kids free courses of basketball, English and leadership skills. (Photo: U.S. Consulate SP)

The United States and Brazil share national and cultural passions for sports. Whether you root for a legendary team playing America’s pastime in the World Series or your national team playing for its sixth World Cup trophy, sports run deep in the cultural heritage of both countries. Brazil has captured the world’s attention by hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics and Paralympics and has an immense opportunity to ensure all Brazilians reap a lasting benefit from the games.

 

Through sports diplomacy, the United States supports Brazilian initiatives and promotes shared values like education, inclusion, and leadership. To this end, the U.S. Mission in Brazil has developed “Sports for All,” an initiative that guides all sports diplomacy programming in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup and through the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.

 

“Sports for All” programs highlight the important role sports play in 1) reaching marginalized audiences, 2) promoting social inclusion 3) empowering youth to engage in today’s world by teaching English language and leadership skills and 4) building lasting U.S.-Brazil linkages at both the institutional and people-to-people levels.

 

A brief overview of recent Mission Brazil Sports for All programming includes:

  • In May 2013, Consulate São Paulo hosted former U.S. women soccer stars Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, who traveled to Brazil as part of a Sports Envoy program to kick off Estrelas do Futebol.

    • The Estrelas do Futebol program, organized in partnership with SESC-São Paulo and Associação Alumni, provides a year of soccer training, English classes, and leadership development for 30 girls in one of the poorest areas of São Paulo.

    • In April 2014, the Estrelas girls began a project to promote volunteerism, during which part of the group traveled to the U.S. for two weeks to learn about the culture of volunteerism and to translate soccer lessons to life off the pitch.

  • In January 2014, the U.S. Men’s National Team visited Brazil to get to know the country and prepare for the World Cup. While in São Paulo, they engaged in an outreach project with participants of the Estrelas do Futebol program and participated in the painting of a mural on a wall of the U.S. Consulate grounds.

  • Embassy Brasilia hosted a viewing party for youth and local government partners to celebrate sports diplomacy and watch the unveiling of the World Cup Trophy at the U.S. State Department, featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and a number of U.S. soccer stars.

  • U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro and U.S. Consulate Recife hosted former Division I soccer player Erica Woda to highlight the importance of including women and girls in coaches’ programs. While in Brazil Erica spoke with Brazilian sport for development organizations, held soccer clinics for players, and worked with Brazilian soccer coaches. For many girls, it was the first time they had ever been coached by a woman.

  • U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist and Woman’s World Cup Trophy winner Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and former U.S. Men’s National Team icon Cobi Jones traveled to Brazil (dipnote) to engage youth. Along with Ambassador Ayalde, the sports envoys helped to launch the 2015 Youth Ambassadors program and participated in Consulate Recife’s first all-female mini-World Cup.

  • A newly launched program, Sport for Community, translates the energy generated around the World Cup into opportunities for community sports programs to positively impact Brazilian communities. Leaders in the sports for development sector will participate in a year-long mentorship program with a U.S. mentor, gaining the knowledge, skills, and networks to successfully implement or amplify sport-based youth development projects. The program will include a two-way exchange, building lasting linkages between U.S. and Brazilian people and institutions.

Additional sports programs have included:

  • A two-way exchange that offered disabled athletes and activists from Brazil and the U.S. the opportunity to share best practices with each other, facilitated by State Department grantee WorldChicago.

  • Two recent International Visitor Leadership Programs (IVLPs) focused on sports brought Brazilian leaders to the U.S. to examine the following themes: “Economic Legacy from Major Sporting Events” and “Social Inclusion and Accessibility for People with Disabilities at Major Sporting Events.”

  • Through a partnership with the Government of Brazil, two American leaders represented the indigenous community in the United States at Brazil’s Indigenous Games, which brought together 48 tribes to celebrate indigenous sports and cultural heritage.

 

Many of these programs have counted on the support of the SportsUnited Division in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, at the U.S. Department of State.

 

A bi-lateral agreement reached between the U.S. Government and the Government of Brazil guides cooperation around mega-events.

 

Through gatherings on the soccer field, in the skate park, and on the baseball diamond, the U.S. and Brazil have successfully inspired youth to work together, to seek out opportunities and to dream big. Mission Brazil’s commitment to Sports for All programs ensure that this practice will continue to increase opportunities for all and to strengthen both people-to-people and bi-lateral government relationships.   

 

More on United States–Brazil sports cooperation is listed below.

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