The Community SOccer Initiative

The Community Soccer Initiative enabled nine schools to offer extracurricular soccer programs with a novel twist: teams in the league are also ranked by the academic and civic engagement of the players. In addition to wins and losses, the league standings consider the total “points” earned by individuals of each team.

The strategy is gamification of good citizenship and academic engagement. Tying academics and sports together means progress in one yields rewards and growth in the other. The sports programs highlights the skills and values essential to both personal and community development. 

CSI has run since 2015 and operates year round. Over 140 participants play on teams representing nine schools. Games are held at the community center and much of the equipment is shared.

Points Are earned three ways:

1. Academic Engagement

Participants earn points by attending school each day. If a team member isn’t there, his or her teammates are motivated to encourage attendance and stay on course.

2. Civic Engagement

Earned by participating in community service events such as clean ups or by volunteering with The Cheerful Hearts Foundation. Participants can also earn civic engagement points by attending various workshops or awareness seminars hosted by CHF, or by setting an example of compassionate citizenship.

3. Leadership

Eventually, students will earn points by helping run the league. This may mean serving as an assistant coach or referee for younger students once the program expands. Other examples of leadership points include bonuses for winning in other categories.

Al Jazeera Documentary - October 2017

 Over 140 students representing nine schools participate in the Community Soccer Initiative.

Over 140 students representing nine schools participate in the Community Soccer Initiative.