Sometimes it seems that plenty of ethnic minorities miss out on participation in many popular sports for unknown reasons. However this is often due to perception from the outside or simply a lack of high profile players who hit the news. Take for example the game of soccer, you might be surprised to hear that there is a relatively thriving scene with large soccer loving communities among the native American community.
Now of course, if you sit down and watch the Premiership on Match of the Day live from here, you won’t see many native American players, well none actually, However many hope that it’s just a matter of time before this changes. One organisation which promotes soccer is the Native American Soccer Coaches Committee which has been set up with the specific aim of identifying, supporting and providing resources to Native American coaches, players and teams.
The organisation is sponsored by the United Soccer Coaches organization who have given grants for all sorts of educational courses for coaches and teams. This support included a competition called the Indigenous Soccer Cup, a non profit tournament designed to promote the game within the indigenous community. The competition was open to young Native American players and hosted by Southwest Youth Services.
One of the biggest problems in promoting soccer to these communities is that interest is quite widespread. That is there is lots of interest spread out among the 500 tribal nations but it’s difficult to bring enough together for teams and competitions. The growing popularity of the North American Soccer League is slowly changing this but it’s still difficult to bring people together.
Another reason that the interest in soccer is growing is because of people like Chris Wondolowski who was of course the first male Native American player selected to play for the USA in the 2014 World Cup which was held in Brazil. He has become something of a hero to all those native american’s who follow soccer.
One of the other problems the organisations have is actually identifying coaches and potential players. Obviously many are playing and coaching within the college system and amateur teams across the country. Basketball and American football are still the most popular sports in Native communities but this is slowly changing over time.
One of the most important facets of promoting soccer and indeed other sports to the community is to help provide a positive outlet. One of the major issues facing the communities is things like drugs and alcohol abuse. Soccer can provide something of a distraction to such issues and provide a deterrent too.
Further Information: To access the Premiership and UK soccer streams from the US, you will need to buy UK proxy services in order to access the free to air coverage. Alternatively there is some coverage on US sports channels too.