On a roll: programming for soccer coaches in Uganda
Jens Omli, a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Child Development, is building on the understanding of sports psychology he gained during his doctoral program in kinesiology and his understanding of child development gained as a postdoctoral student at the Institute of Child Development, to coordinate the training of more than 2,000 soccer coaches in Uganda.
The International Sport Connection Soccer Coach Education program that Omli and Kinesiology associate professor Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, developed, has received a two-year $212,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs in support of international diplomacy and outreach.
Omli, who is mentored by professors Dante Cicchetti and Nicki Crick, will be working with the Federation of Uganda Football Associations to promote a style of coaching already successfully used by Ugandan soccer coach Stone Kyambadde with his Wolves Football Program that serves young players who have grown up on the streets in Kampala, Uganda.
When Omli first traveled on a project to Uganda three years ago on a Eloise Jaegger Scholarship, he spent time with the Wolves and observed first-hand the way Kymbadde mentored players and taught them both life and soccer skills. The training Omli developed is modeled after what Kymbadde has done with his teams of players over the past 25 years. Omli will travel to Uganda this summer along with Wiese-Bjornstal and Stacy Ingraham, coordinator of the coaching program in the School of Kinesiology, to launch the coach-training program.
Omli says in Uganda organizations often fail, but good ideas spread like wildfire. He is confident the ideas promoted in the training will take hold in Uganda and hopes that the network of coaches can be expanded to neighboring African countries and urban areas within the United States.