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Chevrolet Launches Legacy Program for Thai Communities Using Football

  • Coaches Across Continents’ program teaches life skills using the game of football 
  • Coaching structure allows sustainable replication and adaptation of the program to address different community needs

Bangkok, Thailand – The game of football is renowned for teaching teamwork, perseverance, discipline and goal-setting. But for the team at Coaches Across Continents (CAC), football is more than just a game. It is also an opportunity to teach “life skills” – the kind that addresses social needs relevant in communities around the world.

CAC is a key component in Chevrolet Sales Thailand’s latest CSR initiative, using the game of football to build a legacy of leadership, empowerment and choice in communities around Thailand and around the world.

Chevrolet with its local partner World Vision Foundation of Thailand introduced CAC to Thailand during its recent “Pitch Revitalization Program” event at Bang Bua School in Bangkok, where Chevrolet funded the revitalization of the school’s football pitch. Chevrolet and CAC previously teamed up for initiatives in Indonesia, South Africa and USA.

Together with local partners, CAC implements football-based curriculum designed to address social needs. The local partners then implement that curriculum to achieve lasting social change by working directly with children in their community. The legacy of the program is key to its the success and sustainability.

“CAC was designed as an instrument of social change, not to necessarily create top football players. It was set up because of the unifying nature of sport, particularly the globally embraced game of football. It can be incredibly powerful when used correctly,” said Brian Suskiewicz, Chief Executive Strategist, Coaches Across Continents.

Suskiewicz added “CAC is excited to be working for the first time in Thailand with World Vision Foundation of Thailand and Chevrolet. During the course of our partnership we developed local coaches and leaders and implement the program in all communities across Thailand.”

Known as the “Hat-Trick Initiative,” the program develops local coaches and leaders on how to best use the sport of football to create positive social change. The process involves educating local leaders on best practices, allowing them to adapt the curriculum to best suit local needs and then create their own socially relevant lessons to teach to local youth.

But how does a game of football teach life skills? To start with, it is not just a simple game of football as we know it. For example, to educate children about the negative effects of alcohol abuse, a football game is staged using select participants who act drunk to demonstrate the disadvantages of being intoxicated.

The specific content of any game can be adapted to address different social concerns including poverty, exploitation, gender equity, female empowerment, drug abuse, conflict resolution, social inclusion, health and wellness and other critical life skills.

In Thailand, CAC coaches conducted a two-week training program to train community volunteers. The training comprised classroom sessions, on-field sessions and assessment sessions working with local children. Coaches who completed training earned certificates. During the two weeks, CAC worked with more than 50 coaches in Thailand. It is hoped that these coaches will teach thousands of children in many communities across the country.

CAC staffers who trained the new coaches will remain involved in the communities by providing ongoing remote support with curriculum tailored to suit the local area.

“Refurbishing a pitch, such as the one at Bang Bua School, is just the first step. The CAC program is sustainable and its legacy is what we want to give back to the communities where we work and live,” said Marcos Purty, Managing Director of GM Thailand and Chevrolet Sales Thailand.

Purty added “Play leads to possibilities. With CAC’s program, play also leads to a better life for our children and more empowered communities in Thailand.”

Mrs. Chitra Thumborisuth, National Director of World Vision Foundation of Thailand, added, “World Vision Foundation of Thailand looks forward to furthering this initiative and, with the help of the new coaches, spreading this program to other communities in Bangkok and across the country. This unique program gives an opportunity for children to enjoy playing sports and enhancing their football skills. Thank you Chevrolet for developing the potential of Thai youths and benefitting the communities they live in.”

In 2014, CAC worked with 74 community partner programs in 26 countries, educating 3,157 coaches who impacted a further 280,396 children around the world. In the same year, the CAC partnership with Chevrolet was named “Corporate of the Year” by Beyond Sport for the "What Do You #Playfor?" global campaign which CAC helped to initiate in 2014 in Indonesia, the USA and South Africa.

CAC is a non-government organization formed in 2008 by Nick Gates. Registered in the United States and the United Kingdom, CAC is a global leader in the sport for social impact movement.