As part of the sports diplomacy program, Tony Sanneh and Thomas Rongen, two American football (soccer) coaches arrived in Port Au Prince this week to take part in a sports program for youth in Haiti, from August 3 – 9, 2014 with partnership from the Haitian National Police (PNH) and the Community Policing Unit, Scouts d’Haïti, and the Haitian Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports.
In a series of workshops during the week, the coaches will work with youth from around the city on football skills development, teambuilding, conflict resolution and shared responsibility. They will also work with Haitian coaches on long-term programs that can be implemented to keep community-based football leagues going after this program ends. The program will conduct a series of clinics over the week of Aug 4-8, and then culminate in a tournament at the football stadium in Petion-Ville (Rue Lambert) from 9am-2pm on Saturday, August 9.
The sports diplomacy program is part of the Embassy’s work collaborating with the HNP to reinforce community engagement and constructively intervene with youth in at-risk urban areas. Involvement in sports activities such as these helps to provide opportunities for youth and avoid violence outside of school, while strengthening ties developed across communities. Violence reduction activities and community outreach are key components of the Embassy’s engagement with the PNH.
Learn more about Tony Sanneh and Thomas Rongen :
Tony Sanneh played professional soccer in the United States and Europe for 17 years. He also played internationally as a member of the United States Men’s National soccer team, during which team he represented the United States as a player in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Since retiring, he has become President and CEO of The Sanneh Foundation. Mr. Sanneh also continues to serve his country as a Sports Envoy on behalf of the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
Thomas Rongen has one of the most impressive coaching resumes in American professional and international soccer. As a professional player he began his career in Amsterdam and then took his talents to the United States and was named NASL Rookie of the Year with the Los Angeles Aztecs, before going on to play for the Washington Diplomats, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Minnesota Strikers. He has coached the Tampa Bay Mutiny and was named the league’s first Coach of the Year. Over the next decade, he went on to become the Head Coach of three other MLS clubs: the New England Revolution, DC United, and Chivas USA.