Athletes who are interested in playing competitively overseas can find many opportunities. Field hockey, for example, is a sport where athletes have been able to play professionally overseas.
Though shuffling pro league teams to foreign locales may seem out of the ordinary to American fans, analysts say it’s part of a trend to globalize American sports.
Sports Envoy Program
Under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the division expanded its programming through partnerships with professional sports leagues and national sports federations. The programs advance the Department’s foreign policy goals, which include promoting women and girls, increasing international engagement, advancing inclusion and social cohesion, and supporting youth resiliency through sport.
The work is important, but it’s not without its challenges, and the division may face a future of more uncertainty under the Trump Administration. From cutting funding for programs benefiting women abroad to removing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, the new administration’s foreign policy priorities seem to run counter to the goals of the Sports Diplomacy Division.
For Ashleigh Huffman, assistant director of UT’s Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, it means that her days are filled with international travel. As the cooperative agreement partner on the Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP), she’s helped to send 130 leaders from 67 countries to the US for five-week exchanges.
International Sports Programming Initiative
Sports-based people-to-people exchanges help underserved youth develop important leadership skills, achieve academic success, and promote tolerance and respect for diversity both at home and abroad. Programs also foster a deeper understanding of U.S. culture, values, and political and economic perspectives and can mitigate extremist voices.
Each year tens of thousands of young Latin Americans drop out of school to take low-skilled jobs, falling into the category of NEETs (non-educated, unemployed, and unable to participate in the labor market). ECA’s Sports Programming Initiative provides these individuals with the tools they need to succeed in life and contribute to their communities.
This project convenes diverse, gender-focused Sport for Youth Development (S4YD) grassroots organizations from across the globe to share best practices and lessons learned. This is accomplished through a month-long mentorship for international emerging leaders working in disability/adapted sports, led by FHI 360 Global Connections. This program is administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Overseas Sports Visits
Overseas sports visits are opportunities for Unit, Corps and Army sport teams to travel to foreign countries and compete against opposition of a different culture. These competitions often allow participants to tour the country and city in which they are playing. This can provide a very enriching experience for youth sports teams and can also help develop team spirit, motivation and competitive edge.
These overseas trips afford many benefits to both the athletes and their families. Adventure is one of the most obvious benefits as many youth athletes have never flown or visited a foreign country before. This can be a very exciting experience and something that they will talk about for a long time to come.
In addition to the sporting aspect, these international tours also encourage the development of cultural awareness. This can lead to increased independence and self-reliance in the athletes as they get along on their own without the constant 해외스포츠