Camilla Orlando continues to be an active Emerging Leader of Partners of the Americas’ Sport for Community program (S4C). This summer, the Brazilian returned to the United States to work with Olympic gold medalist and member of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team Tiffany Roberts.
It wasn’t the first time the two had met, however. Roberts and Orlando first collaborated in November 2014 through the S4C program, which matches emerging Brazilian leaders from the sport-for-development sector with American mentors from private and non-profit organizations. Orlando runs her own women’s soccer program in her home country of Brazil, the Capital Feminina Women’s Soccer Academy.
Funded by the SportsUnited office of the U.S. Department of State and supported by the U.S. Mission to Brazil, S4C fosters eighteen-month-long professional relationships while also sponsoring travel opportunities for mentor and mentee between the U.S. and Brazil. By nurturing cross-cultural professional relationships, the program leverages sports development to promote economic and social progress in Brazil and the Western Hemisphere.
This summer, the two women worked at Roberts’ Central Florida Girls Soccer Camp, which provides opportunities for girls to play soccer, improve as players, and learn important life skills. This summer’s program proved to be particularly exciting, as it took place during the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Partners of the Americas had the opportunity to interview Orlando and ask her more about both her program in Brazil and her experiences with Roberts over the past year.
Tell us about your experience with Partner’s Sport for Community (S4C) Program.
It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had. The opportunity started when I met the other 15 participants of the program, who were all from Brazil and all work in NGOs around the country. They have a lot of knowledge and experiences to share. Then, I had the opportunity to spend time in Washington D.C., the United States’ capital. It was wonderful to learn and understand a little bit more about U.S. history. Partners of the Americas has increased my professional development and inspired me to continue positively changing people’s lives.
Tell us a little bit about Capital Feminina Women’s Soccer Academy.
Capital Feminina helps to develop women’s soccer and promote gender equality with an emphasis on respecting everyone as an individual. For me, running the program is a dream come true. Our mission is to give girls and women the opportunity to play quality soccer at a high level. Our methodology focuses on designing and developing the player physically, technically, tactically, mentally, and spiritually.
Tell us a bit about the Girls Soccer Camp you participated in this summer. What are the goals of the program?
Every day is full of soccer and fun activities. The camp is an opportunity to introduce the game in an easy and nice way. I worked with two groups of kids from ages 7 to 12 and was responsible for running the practices.
How did your previous experience with Partners of the Americas/S4C impact your work with Tiffany Robert’s Central Florida Girls’ Soccer Camp?
Every time that I get deeply involved in the U.S.’s sports culture, I gain a deeper appreciation for sports, and I understand more clearly how to use sports as a tool to positively change and develop society.
Is there anything you have learned by working with American kids or with the Girls Soccer Camp that will help or inform your work back in Brazil?
The way American kids see sports and how they want to be involved with sports for their entire life is just great, and it will help me to develop this passion for soccer in others and to help make dreams come true.
What unique perspectives, ideas, or methods did you share with the girls participating in this program, and how do they relate with your experience in S4C?
I try to show that we need to respect the game, and we need North America to keep an open space for more girls and women to play soccer.
Tell us a bit about what your professional relationship has been like with your mentor Tiffany Roberts.
She is an inspiration to me. I have learned a lot from her sports experience, and the way she professionally develops her staff and players is amazing. We have talked about women’s soccer around the world and how to help develop the game. She has always helped me to connect with people to help further my professional development. Working with her has been amazing.
Orlando and Roberts now use Skype to exchange ideas and learn from each other’s diverse experiences with S4C. As part of the program, Orlando is currently implementing a grant-funded community project, which is expanding her women’s soccer academy to new parts of Brazil and populations of underserved girls.
Orlando’s summer trip to the U.S. has reinforced her relationship with Roberts while also engaging even more young people—more future leaders, like Orlando herself. By supporting young female athletes and furthering sports development, Orlando and Roberts are advancing both social integration and economic progress in Brazil, the United States, and throughout the Western Hemisphere.