Question Laura Yuen Sao Paulo June 6, 2018
18-year-old football player Oo Meh practiced futsal with other teammates.
On May 7, 2018, women’s soccer player Oo Meh and other teammates played futsal at the Rice Street Recreation Center in Sao Paulo. Caroline Yang for MPR News
Listening to the goal of celebrating the ‘invisible’ organization is to provide a platform for girls’ football stadiums
4 minutes 31 seconds
They gather in difficult-to-separate parks, organize their own football games, and trade five points after scoring each ball.
But as daughters of immigrants and refugees, they play in the fields that college scouts and mainstream football can barely see.
Women’s football – in Minnesota and across the country – is widely seen as a white suburban sport. The most elite private club can charge families thousands of dollars a year for their daughters to participate in first-rate projects. However, a new two-city non-profit organization is trying to open the door for more ethnic female athletes who have already accepted the sport.
Like A Girl Jennifer Larrick’s co-founder spoke with Mariatu Kanu.
The coach and the co-founder of Like A Girl, Jen Larrick, left and negotiated with Mariatu Kanu on the bench during the practice. Caroline Yang for MPR News
Like a girl, she was founded by Kel Johnson, head coach of the high school girls at the Como Park in Sao Paulo. As a soccer dad and his son went to a high school competition banquet, he assessed the top teams in Minnesota and couldn’t help but notice a huge gap.
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“In terms of boys, it began to become more diverse,” Johnson said. “But in terms of girls, there is no diversity at all.”
He was paired with the former university player of the University of Minnesota, Jenner Ralph, who grew up in the elite youth football world in the suburbs of Boston. Before she appeared at St Paul’s High School to help Johnson coach the girl, she knew that they did not play football for the whole year, so she expected a lower skill in the game. She was shocked by what she saw.
Coach Kyle Johnson photographed Hser Ku Wah in a 15-man futsal match.
Coach Kyle Johnson photographed Hser Ku Wah in a 15-man futsal match. Caroline Yang for MPR News
“They are just incredible,” recalls Larick. “They can do everything I ask them to do. I’m blown away. I’m trying to tease my brain. How did they become so good? How are they so skilled in football?”
Laric learned that these girls have been playing in their own cultural alliances with Latino and Karen communities – an area that is generally ignored by the football community.
She said: “This beautiful, vibrant urban eco-girl football ecosystem consists of communities, cultural teams and alliances, made up of girls.” “They guide their teams and they participate in their own competitions. My previous experience It did not remind me of this reality.”
She not only saw the diversity of players, but also saw the diversity of players. Faced with limited floor space, these girls particularly like short-time passes and quick footwork, rather than the more structured styles commonly found in club football.
Coach Kyle Johnson made several stops to accept Like A Girl.
After multiple selections, like “Girl” player, coach Kyle Johnson left and the players arrived at the Rice Street Entertainment Center to participate in the weekly five-a-side practice game in Sao Paulo on May 7, 2018. Caroline Yang for MPR News
Larrick met an athlete, such as 16-year-old Diana Rodriguez, who was born in Mexico and grew up in the United States. Rodriguez and her brothers and cousins learned to play football on the street.
“I learned how to innovate on the ball – how to try something,” Rodriguez said, and he found it more rigid in the club football game. “Playing street football, you can do whatever you like.”
Oo Meh, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, began to play in the middle school. As a Kruni family born in a refugee camp in Thailand, she said she was one of the first girls in her community to participate in the Karen Football Championship dominated by men. Mei finally established a full-female team.
Meh said that other Kroner girls may try new sports at school, especially if they do not speak English, they may be intimidated. She said cultural traditions do not encourage girls like her to become rough and outdoors. But she wants to be an example to other young women.
May Htoo Kyaw, about 14 years old, accepted a handshake.
May Htoo Kyaw, 14 years old, accepted his teammate Mariatu Kanu’s congratulations and his right hand was 14 years old. Caroline Yang for MPR News
“I like sports because I like physical fitness and it also helps my health,” she said, adding that the exercise helps relieve stress. “I hope that other girls will do the same. If they try,
The non-profit organization Like a Girl aims to support low-income, urban girls, whether they need to stay in the game – whether it is transport, plywood or dedicated venue space. Behind his old Toyota Sequoia wheels, Johnson selects many of them from the residential and apartment buildings on the east and north side of Sao Paulo every week and takes them to Rice Street Entertainment Center. Draw: An indoor football style called futsal.
Coaches Kyle Johnson and Jennifer Larick responded to Valentina Milio’s goal.
Coach Kyle Johnson, right, Jennifer Laric, center, Valentina Milio, 16, scored during the practice. Caroline Yang for MPR News
Another goal of non-profit organizations is to recognize and celebrate leisure football that has thrived in different communities.
“There is a narrative in this country, everything is over-trained and over-structured, and there are no more pickups,” said Johnson, a 43-year-old, Vietnamese-born adopter who played clubs in Sao Paulo decades ago and High school football. “Oh, this is not the case. We just did not look for the right space.”
The purpose of preferring girls is not to get players into a highly competitive club. Larrick said: “The idea that we have to remove the best players and put them into the club space essentially means that the club is better.” “We want to say, ‘No, these spaces are both effective and real, they are just different Only.'”
But just like a girl wants to shine for athletes, she hopes to provide new opportunities for college students and more distant players.
It’s like a girl player squeezed into a portrait during practice.
It’s like a girl player squeezed into a portrait during practice. Caroline Yang for MPR News
On July 21st and 22nd, the organization will hold a university show competition. About 20 colleges and universities will attend the college.
Cam Stoltz, a coalition commissioner of the Minnesota Youth Soccer League, has never heard of “like a girl,” but he called the concept “very good.” High school-level top players usually start playing younger through pay-as-you-go clubs. Stoltz said that club registration and travel expenses can not only be a burden for parents, but also time commitments.
“Mom and dad get off work and drive a game of an hour through Twin Cities – it’s a tax for the entire family,” Stoltz said, and his organization recently started an outreach project aimed at involving underrepresented communities. .
University coaches often recruit high school teams and Olympic development programs that bring together the best players in the state. Stoltz said that currently, unless someone helps to bridge the gap, the star of Sauron Karen will not be noticed by college scouts.
Diana Rodriguez raced against Pa Sad Sad while practicing.
16-year-old Diana Rodriguez marched with the 17-year-old Passat Tit while practicing at the Meath Street Entertainment Center. Caroline Yang for MPR News
“They may have passions. They may have ability, but are they exposed?” he said. “How do we expose them to a higher level so that if they are competent, capable and passionate, will they continue to move forward?”
Last summer, eight girls received scholarships after the first university showcase event, “Like a Girl.” Three of them accepted and went to a community college in Iowa.
Just a few weeks after the game, coach Kyle Johnson once again found himself playing the role of the team’s driver – this time, he dragged the player into college.
Correction (June 6, 2018): Oo Meh’s name was misspelled in the previous photo title, and her race was incorrectly reported in previous versions of this story. The story has been updated with the correct information.