CHICAGO (Nov. 26, 2012) – Former U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Lorrie Fair traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports initiative, which aims to increase the number of women and girls who participate in all aspects of sports. Fair also conducted sports clinics with Afghan women as part of the program.
“I’ve been involved with the Sports Envoy program for probably, I don’t know, five years now and I love it,” said Fair. “For one thing, when you go and you play with the National Team, you see the hotel and you see the field but you also get to see things that, as a tourist, you would never get to see. You also get to see the unbelievable power of sport and not just what it did for my life but what it can do in other areas of the world. In particular, it highlights how lucky we are to live in a country where women have opportunity and socially safe spaces to play sport.”
During her five-day visit, Fair led clinics with young female soccer players from the greater Kabul area, spearheaded conversations on leadership, and visited with U.S. military personnel. Fair traveled to Kabul, where she conducted a sports clinic with women on Nov. 21. A day later, Fair conducted a soccer clinic with female college students in the mornings, as well as a workshop with the Afghanistan Women's National Team.
The Department’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sports Initiative mobilizes all of the its sports diplomacy efforts to engage women and girls worldwide. Sport Envoys are current and retired professional athletes and coaches from a range of sports that travel overseas to conduct drills, lead teambuilding sessions, and engage youth in a dialogue on the importance of education, health, and respect for diversity. In partnership with SportsUnited, U.S. Soccer players, coaches and administrators have visited more than 18 countries since 2006. The athletes have offered soccer clinics for thousands of boys, girls and coaches.
SportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ premier sports exchange program at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools, and engage with youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of an education, positive health practices, and respect for diversity. Since 2003, SportsUnited has brought nearly 1,000 athletes from over 60 countries to the U.S. to participate in Sport Visitor programs. Since 2005, SportsUnited has sent over 220 U.S. athletes to more than 50 countries to participate in Sport Envoy programs.