U.S. Department of State Announces World Cup-Centered Sports Visitors and Sports Envoy Programs

Secretary Kerry and Vice-President Biden at World Cup event at the Dept. of State. (Photo: ECA, Dept. of State)
Secretary Kerry and Vice-President Biden at World Cup event at the Dept. of State. (Photo: ECA, Dept. of State)

At yesterday’s State Department sports diplomacy showcase featuring the World Cup trophy, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan announced the Bureau’s two latest sports exchange programs under the “Sports for All” initiative led by Mission Brazil and ECA.

From April 18-28, the Department, working in cooperation with Consulate General Sao Paulo and the University of Tennessee, will bring 14 teenage girl soccer players and two coaches from Brazil to the U.S. for a series of soccer clinics, team-building activities, and interactions with their American peers. In support of ECA’s Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative, the program aims to increase sports opportunities for females in

Brazil, leading to improved health, higher self-esteem, and greater academic success.

From May 4-13, the Department will send U.S. soccer legends Tiffany Roberts and Cobi Jones to Brazil as Sports Envoys to conduct a series of soccer clinics and workshops for youth. In addition to a stop in Brasilia, the “World Cup Roadshow” will visit Recife, Natal, and Manaus, the host cities of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s opening round games. During the program, Roberts and Jones will empower the youth participants to lead healthy lives and become leaders in their communities.

Between the upcoming World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, Brazil will be the epicenter of global sports. Working closely with the Brazilians, these sporting mega events are the perfect backdrop for building the sports dimension of this important partnership. Through a series of people-to-people exchanges, partnerships and grants programs, “Sports for All” aims to engender greater social inclusion and build young people’s abilities to compete in the labor market. The fundamental concepts of these efforts will be promoting teamwork, developing a sense of leadership through sports, and the teaching and learning of English to emphasize the importance of education to their future success.

By overseeing the State Department’s sports diplomacy programming, ECA encourages the involvement of traditionally underrepresented audiences. Since 2003, ECA has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from more than 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in sports visitor programs while sending over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries on sports envoy programs.

For press inquiries, contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at eca-press@state.gov