Women’s soccer teams in Brunei were treated to a rare opportunity to practice their skills thanks to the US Sports Envoy Program which enabled former U.S Women’s National Soccer Team players Lorrie Fair and Amy Griffin, to conduct a riveting program of motivational talks, coaching clinics nad training sessions with a focus on gender equality, empowering youth and promoting sports development.
Kicking off at the local U.S Embassy’s celebration in honour of the United States of America’s 247th Independence Day this year, the sports diplomacy as a way to promote cross-cultural understanding. Fair and Griffin agreed that there are more parallels between the two countries in terms of women’s engagement and their experiences with that, with Griffin likening the current sports environment here to the one she had growing up. Girls who played sports like football were the outliers, she explained, adding that “Now, it’s cool to be the girl who plays soccer in the U.S. and now I’m not on the outside anymore”.
They said that being able to spend an extended amount of time in the country engaging with locals gave them the ability to experience in-depth what life is like here, particularly with the sports industries. “You could see (at the training sessions and clinics) that there is a community of people gathered together for their passion for football and its clearly something that means something deeper to them that ‘Oh let’s just kick the ball around’ , said Fair. “Every opportunity they get, they’re gonna play, and that has to come through to speak volumes about their passion for something that is somewhat difficult to do and come by in this country.”