Brazil is a nation of soccer, but when it comes to women and girls’ participation in soccer, the numbers tell a different story. In the United States, 14 million girls play soccer; in Brazil, only 400,000. In a quest to increase the number of women and girls involved in sports, the U.S. Department’s ECA and the U.S. Soccer Federation coordinated to build a dynamic Soccer Envoy program in São Paulo, Brazil.
From May 19 to 26, Olympic Gold Medalists and FIFA World Cup champions Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain led a series of soccer clinics and sessions with young women on the importance of education, inclusion, and health. Working with the Rosana dos Santos Augusto of the Brazilian Women’s National Team, Foudy and Chastain reached out to teenage girls from different communities through clinics and speeches and worked with local P.E. teachers and university students studying sports and physical training. During their discussions with local government officials on policies that advocate for girls sports opportunities, the envoys drew on the lessons of the landmark U.S. law, Title IX.