Teaming with potential
Radio personality and founder of Dreamfields (a soccer development project focused on uplifting communities across South Africa) John Perlman, believes that team sports build better schools. “Our dream is to provide resources for playing soccer in townships and rural schools across South Africa,” he says. And the Chevrolet Ute Force shares this vision.
The two parties, along with local government, have identified two communities within the Free State Province; Petrusburg and Botshabelo, to roll-out their first soccer development initiative in the country. Dubbed the Indestructible Spirit Project, it will help to benefit around 20 schools, more than 300 primary school pupils (in Grades 4 to 7) and 35 teachers in numerous ways.
The project kicks-off at AJC Jooste Combined School in Petrusburg, where a 13-school soccer league will see 160 boys and girls from the local community participating in regular training sessions and matches.
Further support will be provided to 35 teachers who will take part in a soccer coach training course managed by the Dreamfields team.
The second leg of the project will support another eight schools, where a 210-pupil soccer league will be managed from Phano Intermediate School in Botshabelo – another impoverished community in desperate need of support.
Perlman points out: “The schools that will be home to the two leagues have principals who are truly committed to providing a nurturing environment for their pupils in order for them to learn and play, in spite of the budgetary constraints they face.”
Luckily all the budding sports stars from the two communities will have access to donated soccer kits, which include soccer balls, clothing and training equipment.
“It is essential that the project is 100 percent sustainable and supported by the local community,” says Tim Hendon, brand manager for Chevrolet South Africa. “The purpose of the Chevrolet Ute Force initiative is to lend assistance and build communities via youth-focused projects – they are after all the future leaders, soccer champions and change-makers of our country.”
Perlman adds: “With the help of Chevrolet Ute Force, we are giving these schools the training and equipment that they need to build their own leagues, and we want to see the children playing week in and week out … That’s how they will learn to play soccer and that is how they will learn about life.”