Unified Women’s Football in South Africa
Charl Sean and Eltheo are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from South Africa who will lead a Youth Innovation Project to increase the participation and opportunities for female athletes with intellectual disabilities. Charl Sean and Eltheo will train four new football teams comprised of female athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in a Unified recreational tournament in the Western Cape region. In doing so, Charl Sean and Eltheo hope to increase the sports opportunities for women and form long-term partnerships with the local soccer federation. In October 2019, Charl Sean and Eltheo participated in the Special Olympics Africa Regional Youth Leadership Summit in Nairobi, Kenya and learned how the importance of youth leadership and engagement can lead to a stronger Unified Generation.
Over the course of twelve months, Charl Sean and Eltheo will work to recruit 40 athletes with intellectual disabilities and develop their skills in preparation for the tournament. Following the tournament, Charl Sean and Eltheo will integrate the members of their four soccer teams into pre-existing Unified soccer teams. The coaches recruited through this project will be encouraged to become long-term Unified Sports coaches. By expanding the opportunities for women with intellectual disabilities, Charl Sean and Eltheo are ensuring an equitable future for all members of the Unified Generation.