World Cup: Sports Exchanges Celebrate “The Beautiful Game”

Posted by Maura M. Pally
June 25, 2010
Goalkeeper Watches Ball Go Into Net During World Cup Soccer Match

About the Author: Maura M. Pally serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Professional and Cultural Exchanges in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The international excitement surrounding the World Cup is evidence of the worldwide passion for soccer, and of the important role it plays in the cultures of many different countries. Soccer also plays an important role in U.S. sports diplomacy and outreach. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' SportsUnited office creates programs around soccer and other sports to give foreign participants exposure to American life and culture, as well as connect them with U.S. sports professionals. SportsUnited programs help kids ages 7-17 discover how success in athletics can translate into the development of life skills and achievement in the classroom. These initiatives also give Americans the opportunity to learn about foreign cultures and about the challenges young people from other countries face today.

This June, the SportsUnited office brought twelve teenage girl soccer players and two coaches from Venezuela to the United States for a 10-day Sports Visitor program. This program coincided with the 38th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, landmark legislation that bans discrimination on the basis of gender, which had a huge impact on American education, collegiate and professional sports, and society. The girls participated in a soccer clinic with the coach of the Washington Freedom, the local Women's Professional Soccer team, and met soccer star Abby Wambach. They also participated in several fun team-building activities, played with American high school athletes, and attended a “watch party” at RFK Stadium to see the U.S. Men's National Team play Algeria and advance to the second round of the World Cup.

In addition to bringing young athletes to the United States on Sports Visitor programs, SportsUnited also sends American athletes overseas to conduct clinics, visit schools, and speak to youth. Partnering with U.S. Soccer, this month SportsUnited sent World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner Cindy Parlow and former Major League Soccer assistant coach Dr. John Cone to Azerbaijan as Sports Envoys. Cindy and John led clinics for hundreds of children, including many who live in Internally Displaced Persons camps, and held a clinic specifically for coaches to ensure the long-lasting impact of their work.

In addition to soccer, SportsUnited this year has created programs for basketball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, figure skating, and snowboarding. Like the World Cup, SportsUnited programs bring people together across the divisions of region, race and religion, uniting them through a shared passion for sports. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs joins our many participants and alumni around the world in celebrating our mutual respect for each other's culture, as we watch and cheer on our favorites in the World Cup. GOAL!!!



donald m.
Virginia, USA
June 27, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

6 27 10

The United States gave it a good shot in the world cup. I did notice Mr. Bill Clinton and his friends having a good time. Glad to see news reporters and Vice Presidents can enjoy themselves. I wrote VP Biden and email offering my help on the BP OIL spill. (chuckle to see if he responds)

Have a Nice Day Peace OUT!

June 27, 2010

John in Greece writes:

This post is dedicated to "referees" that had a different “view”.
They can not accept the fact that USA has a great team in soccer too!

Next time they will!

(same with England today) ...

donald m.
Virginia, USA
June 28, 2010

Donald in Virginia writes:

6 28 10

@John in Greece

Hey John how you been? Its been awhile. I heard greece is having problems like the rest of the world, including the United States.

John P.
June 28, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Donald in Virginia
Right Donald. We have to face a financial crisis in Greece too. [Besides my personal bankruptcy (LOL)]. Thank God, USA help us a lot.

Let’s see things positive. It may take some time, but we will make it work again.
After all, here in Greece, we are (now) forced to take decisions for actions that we should have taken many decades ago. All this discussion inspired me to adapt one great phrase of Eric in NM. He wrote some months ago: (in my words) the only way to end a war is to win the war. So, I’d say that the only way to end a financial crisis is to fight the crisis.

What I hear about the States is that you are doing great steps and things get better day by day. Of course you cannot have “one-day” miracles, but I assume (and I am not a partisan) that the Obama Administration is doing a great job. This is the image I get from the international news.

However, this time we are off the subject for sure (CHUCKLE).
So, I’d like to post a wish: I’ d love to see Donovan in PANATHINAIKOS FC. Although I am not a fanatic, I’d buy plenty of tickets of my favorite team, just for him.
I had watched USA soccer team in 2006. At this time, it was a very good team with great athletes, but medium technical performance. I knew, though, that something big is going on.
2010 USA soccer team was a GREAT, technically complete team that made us (all of us who love the States) proud!
Congratulations to everyone!
My prediction is that in 2014, America will be in the final.

P.S. Indeed it’s been awhile. I missed you too guys. I had to “fight” some local lunatics though. My dear friend Donald, don’t worry about my presence here. I love this Blog and it is a real school for me. I won’t easily leave the “building”, unless the moderators kick me out of here (LOL). Nevertheless, if you ever attention me “post-less” for more than a year just send a couple of navy copters for my rescue (LOL again).


Saman B.
June 29, 2010

Saman B. in Iran writes:

@ Israel Gov.

Dear addressee!

In the Arabian gulf,the Iranian freighter is starting towards your realm; its cargo containing the equipment and warlike products for Israel, a few Iranian assembly members are shipmate; please entertain goodly of my compatriots.

Thank You


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