FCSA: Young Coaches training in Colombia

The FCSA project in the 'city of eternal spring': This year's Young Coaches training by the Football Club Social Alliance (FCSA) was held in the Colombian city of Medellín from 24 to 28 October. Thorsten Judt and Jörg Kappenhagen, the FCSA instructors at Bayer 04, travelled to South America for the third and last module to join in with the training of local young coaches.

The focus of this third and final module was setting up inclusive football to combat the physical and psychological consequences of armed conflict in Colombia as well as the continuing stigmatisation of people with disabilities in the country. The Young Coaches from Colombia learned how to adapt drills and games to different levels of ability through specific training methods and thereby being able to integrate disadvantaged children. The Young Coaches applied this knowledge straightaway in a football festival with a group of disabled children.

"Tournament of values" and workshops

The Young Coaches also learned how to manage tournaments for a large group of children where it was not only about winning but also the transmission of community values and subjects such as solidarity or living together in peace. 120 children from local communities, including a group of disadvantaged children, were able to benefit from that immediately by taking part in a "tournament of values" organised by the Young Coaches in the infamous Comuna 13 in Medellín. The training also included workshops run by the local project partners UNHCR Colombia and Humanity & Inclusion. The areas of inclusion and child protection in sport were covered.


All 41 participants received an FCSA certificate at a presentation ceremony at the end of the course. That confirms the Young Coaches can show that they can run age-specific and inclusive activities in football and also provide educational activities for children. The newly qualified Young Coaches currently reach over 3,800 children in Colombia and they are highly motivated to apply and share their knowledge in their communities.

Judt: "very moving moments"

Jörg Kappenhagen said after his time in Medellín: "The group of Young Coaches communicated a lot and treated each other with great respect," said the Bayer 04 instructor. "They really appreciated being chosen for this project from their communities. For us the next step that is particularly important is for the Young Coaches to train other people in their own communities so that the whole subject reaches more children and has a greater effect." Kappenhagen's Leverkusen colleague Thorsten Judt added: "It's very emotional for me to see how the Young Coaches help the kids. There were very moving moments when they created a beautiful experience for all the children with their incredible energy.”

The Young Coaches training programme in Colombia is organised by FCSA and Scort in close cooperation with Fútbol Con Corazón and UNHCR Colombia and is supported by the Fondation Botnar.

The situation in Colombia:

The list of challenges facing Colombia is long: Poverty, violence, inflation and the immigration of 1.8 million people from Venezuela are just some of the problems. And they were further increased during the pandemic. In addition, the South American country is still battling with armed violence in different regions. The local circumstances in the country combined with the great influx of asylum seekers from abroad is stretching the resources and cooperation of the Colombian population. This makes it difficult for people who have been expelled or are refugees to deal with trauma, integrate in their host communities, and build a new life.

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