Stories | WVU Today | West Virginia University
Concerns about women’s empowerment are a public health and policy issue in the U.S., Mexico and throughout the world. Using the sport of soccer, a West Virginia University team aims to enhance young women’s empowerment through leadership development.
The WVU-based initiative is a partnership of the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the Leadership Studies program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.
“The program is designed to use the most popular international sport, soccer, to develop person-to-person diplomacy, while promoting social change,” said Jack Watson, professor, College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, and principal investigator.
Ultimately, program administrators will coordinate plans to send 20 individuals to Mexico, including youth, coaches and other leaders. As a follow up, 24 representatives will travel to Morgantown to complete the exchange in the attempt to address social issues in Mexico.
Through an ongoing partnership with the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, located near Monterrey, the group will reach out to Mexican youth and coaches to establish the exchange.
“Faculty and personnel at UANL are not only very well connected with the local community in Monterrey, but also are extremely well equipped to participate in a project of such characteristics,” said Gonzalo Bravo, CPASS sport management associate professor. “We could not ask for better partners. It is through UANL that we will be able to reach and identify our target population in Mexico, who will then travel to Morgantown in the summer of 2019.”
Since 2010, Bravo has worked and collaborated on numerous projects at the School of Sport Organization at UANL. That work will enhance the direct network of contacts with schools and officials in the region.
Partner organizations in the US will involve nonprofit soccer organizations, including local and regional soccer associations. The group has contacts in Morgantown, Wheeling and Charlottesville, Virginia, to help create a positive experience.