July 5 – With the focus of attention in the Concacaf region firmly fixed on the Gold Cup final between Mexico and the US to be played this Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago, the confederation has taken the opportunity to roll out an edition of its NextPlay coach education programme in Chicago.
The Concacaf NextPlay programme is a grassroots development initiative that sees Concacaf officials provide training for coaches to deliver the NextPlay methodology in their local communities.
The programme promotes access to football and uses the power of the game to drive social change. Coaches are given the tools to conduct appropriate age training sessions (the age focus is 6-12 year olds) and on field recommendations on how to use the game to create safe spaces, instil social values including hard work, fair play, inclusion, teamwork and respect.
In Chicago the NextPlay progamme will be held the day before the final. After the coaches training, a football clinic for boys and girls from across the Concacaf region and the local community will be hosted.
Concacaf began this edition of the NextPlay programme (it run a version in 2017 as well) in Los Angeles in April and has been running events throughout the Gold Cup in collaboration with Member Associations, the host cities and local organisations to conduct the programme. NextPlay activities have included Cleveland, Ohio and Houston, Texas, in May followed by events in May in Denver, Colorado and San Jose, Costa Rica. Jamaica also held an event before its hosting of a the first ever round of Gold Cup games in the Caribbean in June.
Speaking before the tournament, Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said: “As one of the most anticipated sporting events in the region, the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup is the ideal platform to further expand the reach of NextPlay as we continue delivering on our commitment to access, inclusiveness and social responsibility. Integrating NextPlay into our premier competition, reinforces our commitment to ensure we are leaving a legacy through football.”
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