August 27, 2009

Fall Season Begins!

We are all starting to feel it...days are getting shorter, the sun isn't quite as hot in the Rockies, and school bells are beginning to ring.  And we all know that with the end of summer comes the start of the America SCORES Denver Fall 2009 season!  Next Wednesday our SCORES kids will be getting on their shin guards and returning to the soccer field.  The staff here in Denver would like to welcome our new and returning schools and teachers to the program.  This season we have eight schools participating, and we would like to thank our coaches in advance for all the support they give to our SCORES kids...none of this would be possible without you.

Our schools and coaches this season include:
     Amy Olivas - Girls Writing/Soccer Coach
     and School Liaison
     Julio Olivas - Boys Writing/Soccer Coach
     Barbara Shanahan - Girls Soccer Coach
     Kate Tynan - Girls Soccer Coach    
     Amanda Rumfelt - Girls Writing Coach
     Greg Toston - Boys Soccer Coach
     Kevin Netzel - Boys Writing Coach
     Gretchen Rech - School Liaison    
     Alberto Salazar - Boys Writing/Soccer Coach
     Laura Sandoval - Girls Writing Coach
     Leticia Rodriquez - Girls Soccer Coach
     Theresa McGuire - Girls Soccer Coach
     and School Liaison
     Alyse Hirschorn - Girls Writing Coach
     Roberto Martinez - Boys Soccer Coach
     Laticia Rodriguez - Boys Writing Coach
     Amanda Webb - Girls Writing/Soccer
     Chris Webb - Boys Writing/Soccer Coach
     and School Liaison
     Lauren Landon - Girls Soccer Coach    
     Linda Bautista - Girls Writing Coach
     Charlie Estanga - Boys Soccer Coach
     Nancy Lytle - Boys Writing Coach
     Kathy Mendez - School Liaison

Munroe Elementary (no website listed)
     Stephanie Dickinson - Girls Soccer Coach
     Michelle Delgado - Girls Writing Coach
     Amber Deakyne - Boys Soccer Coach
     Chris Winslow - Boys Writing Coach
     Nanci Campbell - School Liaison
     Carolyn McCrary - Girls Soccer Coach
     Sarah Kohler - Girls Writing Coach
     Luis Munoz - Boys Writing/Soccer
     Vicky Garcia - School Liaison

Continue to be on the look out for updates from each of these great schools...we hope the season is filled with excitement. 

August 25, 2009

Are you immune to marketing?

It is no question that obesity is, and will continue to remain a problem in the U.S. Just last year the obesity rates increased in 23 states, and did not decrease in any (Trust for America's Health). In addition, the precentage of overweight children is at or above 30% in 30 states.

A year ago these trends in child obesity could be linked to the marketing of food. In 2006 the Federal Trade Commission found that food companies spent$1.6 billion to market their products to children and teenagers. The biggest market spender was the makers of carbonated beverages, followed by fast food restaurants and the producers of cereal. Because of this enormous expenditure, and the effects that it had on child health, companies are now rethinking their marketing policies. Campbell Soup, General Mills and Kellogg are no longer marketing to kids under six. Burger King, and Hershey are no longer marketing to kids under twelve. Many companies have even restricted marketing to food that is nutritionaly adequate to children (Center for Science in the Public Interest).

To see the incredibe effects of marketing, I challenge you to take the Packaged Food Mascots Memory Test by clicking on the link below. You'll be surprised at how much information you know about the mascots of cereal...what their names are...and what they are wearing. And what's even more surprising is that you probably learned this information as a child, and somehow still remember...

August 20, 2009

The World of Sports and Money

It is no question that American's love sports; we love to play sports, watch sports, and spend billions of dollars each year going to watch our favorite teams play. It is no surprise then that this obsession is reflected in the salary of professional athletes. To put it in perspective, let me give you a break down of the world's top 10 highest paid athletes in 2009 as calculated by Forbes Magazine:

1. Tiger Woods - Earnings, $100 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Golf
2. Oscar De La Hoya - Earnings, $43 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Boxing
3. Phil Mikelson - Earnings, $42.2 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Golf
4. Kimi Raikkonen - Earnings, $40 million; Nationality, Finish; Sport, Auto Racing
5. Michael Schumacher - Earnings, $36 million; Nationality, German; Sport, Auto Racing
6. David Beckham - Earnings, $33 million; Nationality, British; Sport, Soccer
7. Kobe Bryant - Earnings, $32.9 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Basketball
8. Shaquille O'Neal - Earnings, $31.9 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Basketball
9. Michael Jordan - Earnings, $31 million; Nationality, American; Sport, Basketball
10. Ronaldinho - Earnings, $31 million; Nationlity, Brazilian; Sport, Soccer

The U.S. dominates this list, having 6 of the highest paid athletes in the world. You can see, however, that Ronaldinho from Brazil sneaks in there at number 10. Which brings us full circle to the experience that Theresa had on her visit...
Theresa had the unique experience of learning how some programs in Brazil run their sports programs, the underlying theme being that many talented kids drop out of their sport because there is no incentive to play. While in Lavras, Theresa visited the Tennis Club to learn how they implement their sports program. There are 3 levels….4-5 year olds, 6-7, and 8-9 year olds. Students are introduced to a variety of sports at a non-competitive level, and when they turn 9 they are able to choose a sport to focus on. However, even at the University level, sports are considered non-competitve, which is why many kids don't chose to continue playing. As you can see, this is very different from the U.S. where student athletes are idols in the high schools and colleges that they attend. Sports are even put above education if opportunites for higher level of play are presented to athletes.

This sport obsession in the U.S. is one of the aspects that drives the cash flow to the athletes. It is not a surprise then that Americans are among the top paid athletes in the world. If countries outside of the U.S. had the means to provide such lofty benefits to athletes, it would be interesting to see if Americans would still dominate the world of sports.

August 18, 2009

Brazil Amputee Soccer Team

We now get back to Theresa's trip to Brazil, and the world of soccer abroad...

In one of her many adventures, Theresa was able to watch an Amputee soccer game. You may be thinking that the popularity of this sport may not be very big, but there are nine countries who plan on participating in this years Amputee World Cup. In fact this years Cup, which will be held in September, is going to take place in Brazil. The nine nations participating are Brazil, Argentina, El Salvador, Ghana, Great Britain, Liberia, Russia, Sierra Leone and Turkey. Critics have argued about the safety of this sport saying that adaptive soccer may cause harm to the player or others, but there are very specific safety guidelines set forth such as crutch material and mechanics.

Theresa said that she was absolutely amazed by the players. "These players had not given up on life and continued to play soccer. It really humbles you and makes you appreciate the things that you have in your life."

To find out more about amputee soccer and the team in Brazil, please visit
See you later this week!

August 13, 2009

Racing for SCORES!

I know I promised another update from Theresa's trip, but I need to take this time to mention an amazing opportunity for you to support the Denver staff and help raise money for SCORES!

Your Cause Sports of Colorado is hosting a triathlon, duathlon and 5K benefitting non-profits all over the U.S. The staff here in Denver will be racing in the event, and we would appreciate your support. There are two ways to help:

1. Make a donation by clicking HERE to be taken to our fundraising page.

2. If you would like to participate in the Boulder Sunset, please click to register. Be sure to select AmericaSCORES from the organization list, which happens to be the very last name on the drop down menu, so that any money paid beyond the registration fee will go to benefit SCORES.

This race will be followed by three more next year, so be on the look out for future opportunites to race for a great cause.

August 11, 2009

Bamboo Sticks used as Pole Vaults

Almost a month and a half ago today, Theresa was enjoying the beautiful country of Brazil.

During her time she was able to visit the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA), a college located in Lavras, which is 138 miles south of the capital, Belo Horizonte. She was able to meet Professor Fernando who was helping to run a Track and Field program out of the University. Surprisingly, none of the schools have sports programs, so students are picked up by bus and taken to the UFLA sports center. The program is funded by many of the professors at the University, and is geared towards at-risk youth who are typically from extremely poor environments. Some children have even been rescued from child labor situations. Unfortunely, due to funding, professors struggle with acquiring up-to-date equipment for the program, even going as far as to use bamboo for their pole vaults. They are hoping to one day find an organization who is looking to get rid of their old equipment in order to give the kids the quality they deserve.

It is certainly inspiring that there are programs with a vision much like America SCORES in countries all over the world. In giving children the opportunity to succeed, they will excel beyond our expectations.

Check us out later this week for more updates on Theresa's adventure in Brazil...

August 7, 2009

New AmeriCorps*VISTA joins America Scores

Hi! My name is Kristine, and I am the new AmeriCorps*VISTA who will be taking over for Julie. Julie has been working with America Scores since last December, and will sadly be leaving at the end of August to embark on a yet unknown adventure. She has definitely left big shoes to fill, and will be greatly missed.

I am a recent graduate of Bucknell University, where I received a Bachelor's degree in psychology and music. Upon graduating I became a team leader for AmeriCorps NCCC, which is a team based year of service. During this time I was able to travel to Mississippi, Michigan, and Minnesota with nine other individuals to strengthen communities around the United States. If you hadn't guessed yet, I love to travel, and during my time at Bucknell was also able to study in Australia, New Zealand, and Nicaragua. I have come back to my home state of Colorado to work with America Scores, and am very excited about this opportunity. Soccer and writing were a big part of my life growing up, and I am thrilled to be able to work with an organization that shares these passions. I look forward to keeping you updated on the world of America Scores. Stay tuned....

August 5, 2009

Theresa in Brazil!

Through a newly established relationship with the Partners of the Americas, Coaching Coaches, we were able to send one of our soccer coaches, Theresa from Cowell Elementary, on a week long all expense paid trip to Brazil to see how Brazilian youth soccer programs are conducted.

Through the next couple of weeks we will be updating the blog with Theresa's account of the trip, along with pictures she took.

"I am honored that I was chosen to represent the US and the program that I coach for, America SCORES Denver, in Brazil. This has been such a life-changing experience for me and I have met amazing people, people that will be my life long friends. I am inspired to do more, both at home in the US and internationally with at risk youth, especially the girls. I think it is extremely VITAL to help girls at a young age in at risk environments…where no one is there telling them that they are worth anything especially since girls are extremely vulnerable to societal pressures. In Brazil when boys are born they are given soccer balls and girls are given dolls and little kitchens. I believe that sports, connected with education, can help girls rise above their “societal norms.” Sports give girls skills that they can use both on and off the field and it can build up their self-esteem, their self-worth, provide them the skills to communicate, show them to not look at other girls as the enemy but as a teammate, give them the strength to persevere and not give up. These are skills that they can use in their education and in the business world and can give them the power to follow their dreams and not settle for less. And, at the same time, they have a coach, someone in their life, telling them that “they can” when everyone else is telling them they cannot. I am looking forward to the next Partners meeting to discuss what to do next with the coaching coaches program. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with my school and others throughout the community!

On Sunday we arrived in Belo Horizonte where Jose picked us up and took us back to his farm in Lavras where we were staying. All the food on the farm is made fresh and it is some of the best food I have ever eaten!

Later that night Lance (another participant from the US) and I were taken to a local soccer match where there is some amazing local talent! Afterwards we were invited to join the team for drinks and we sat around and talked and watched the Flamenco match. We all then back to Jose's farm were a roda da samba group played samba music in a circle and we ate paodequeziou, drank beer, and talked with the local Tenis club teachers". (Picture on the right is Lance and Theresa with the local soccer club)