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Trust the Process: Launching the Academy in Armenia

Last week, iACT traveled to Armenia to launch football academies to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children impacted by the recent war in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno Karabakh). While the Armenian community welcomed our (fully vaccinated) team and shared their exceptional hospitality, the wounds of war remain raw and heartbreak was evident. It was an honor to be part of a group that was able to ignite joy among coaches and partners, which we know will be extended to the children of Armenia and Artsakh. 

This year-long project is 40% supported by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, and is in partnership with the local Armenian organization Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer (GOALS).  While there, our team trained 19 coaches and selected three to serve as Academy coaches. Coaches will be engaged with communities located in the border town of Goris and its surrounding areas. The coaches were trained using iACT’s Refugees United Soccer Academy (Academy) program framework and traveled from all over the impacted areas of Armenia. Some of the coaches came from Artsakh, a two-hour drive through the Russian-peacekeeping held Lachin Corridor, while others traveled from border villages, located up to six hours away.  Several coaches were from Goris and the surrounding villages, where many displaced families have come to live.