The Evergreen Sportsplex south of Leesburg is usually filled with kids honing their soccer skills, but on one recent day it was a venue for an important cultural exchange.
Working with George Mason University and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, Evergreen Sports Complex hosted 20 coaches and student athletes from China as part of their SportsUnited, sports visitors program last month.
George Mason’s sports management professors, Bob Baker and Craig Esherick and special education professor Pam Baker connected with the U.S. State Department in 2011 to become Sports Diplomats for the SportsUnited Program. The goal is to provide an opportunity for coaches and athletes from across the globe to connect with their American counterparts to learn best practices, coaching techniques and to have both cultural, educational and athletic experiences in the DC Metropolitan area.
Evergreen Sports Complex was selected as one of the destinations for the Chinese coaches and athletes to visit so they could see how to operate a youth athletic facility, learn coaching techniques from nationally and internationally recognized soccer coaches, as well as have an opportunity to play soccer on the complex’s fields certified by FIFA, the international governing body of soccer.
“We are excited to be part of an initiative that brings coaches and athletes together from all over the world to learn from one another through a common passion for sports and athletics,” Evergreen Managing Director Chris Bourassa said. “We are grateful to George Mason for selecting Evergreen Sports Complex as one of the destinations to visit as we believe we not only have a beautiful facility and great coaches, but have educational and philanthropic programming in place to create future community leaders that can be implemented on an international level.”
“We look forward to supporting George Mason and the U.S. State Department on future SportsUnited visits. Evergreen is very thankful to Bob McCollar from Loudoun Economic Development and both Beth Erickson and Torye Hurst of Visit Loudoun, for their support and participation on Monday to help achieve our common goal of creating international relationships through various channels to increase Loudoun County’s presence abroad,” said Carolyn Dobson, Evergreen’s vice president for marketing.