About Goals For Girls

Our mission at Goals for Girls is to use soccer to teach young women life skills on how to be agents of change, in their own lives and in their communities.

Goals for Girls connects girls from different countries and backgrounds with their peers around the world to address social and health challenges through cultural exchange, service, and soccer. Since 2007, we have used this unique platform to help disadvantaged girls across the globe by providing life skills education, all taught through the game of soccer.

Goals for Girls is an international initiative of girls helping girls through soccer. The Goals for Girls experience opens the eyes of young women to the wide array of perspectives and challenges that exist outside their own small sphere, and instill within them the knowledge that they have something powerful to offer the world. By instilling in these girls the change-maker mentality, they realize the character and strength that soccer teaches them goes far and beyond the game.

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GoalsforGirls shared A Mighty Girl's photo.

A Mighty Girl highlighted our good friends at Yuwa! Check out the post. Goals for Girls is planning to meet up with the girls of Yuwa (and a few other fantastic organizations empowering girls through sport) in Delhi for a 4-day girls soccer leadership summit during this year's India program!
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While the Women’s World Cup inspires people around the world, in rural India the very act of a girl kicking a soccer ball defies gender expectations. That’s why Yuwa, an NGO that operates in one o...

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GoalsforGirls added 3 new photos.

A preview of our upcoming 2015 India Program: The girls of Slum Soccer and the girls of Triangle United from North Carolina! Together, they will be taking a stand for girls in the vulnerable areas of Nagpur, India.

#empowerment #voicetochoice #girlssoccer #liveyourgoals
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GoalsforGirls added 9 new photos.

Former #USWNT player Cindy Parlow represented #GoalsforGirls at the #GirlPowerinPlay Symposium hosted by Women Deliver. Wonderful event, and incredible organizations in attendance all committed to empowering girls through sport.

#girlssoccer #inspiration #empowerment #liveyourgoals
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How it Works

Goals for Girls partners with organizations worldwide that use sport as a tool to tackle issues affecting girls in disadvantaged areas, and we support their ongoing work.

Central to Goals for Girls is connecting girls from different cultures and areas of the world together to empower each other. We link American young women to their peers on the other side of the world; in doing so they gain an understanding that they are valued and have important contributions to make to the world.

We create a platform for girls across the world to discover their similarities and differences and work together to meet the various challenges they are facing. We use the following five initiatives to make this happen:

International CAMPAIGNS

Goals for Girls CLUBS

PARTNER PROMOTION AND SUPPORT

Alumni Network

Domestic FUNDRAISING EVENTS

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they can understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.

– Nelson Mandela

Why Soccer

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and for good reason: it is a game that can be accessible to anyone, anywhere. All that one needs is a playing surface, a ball, and some way to mark off a goal. In communities across the globe, soccer is more than just a game: it is a form of identity and a fundamental piece of culture and history.

According to FIFA, there are 265 million male and female players in addition to 5 million referees and officials making a grand total of 270 million people – and over 1 billion people worldwide watched the 2014 World Cup; no game has a wider world presence.

The benefits of playing the game are expansive: it teaches work ethic, leadership, peer communication, sportsmanship and perseverance; it nurtures a healthy and active lifestyle; it cuts through social and cultural divides; and it connects people to one another in a unique, dynamic way. Soccer specifically provides a vital outlet to victims of poverty and social inequality, creating fun, engaging, and safe environments for people to gain confidence and life skills that equip them to face the challenges of life.

Why Girls

Across the globe the role of girls and women is central, both in their communities and their families. However, gender discrimination is alive and well in the developing world. There are approximately 600 million adolescent girls living in developing countries today, many of whom are in dire circumstances. According to the United Nations:

70 %

of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth are girls

75 %

of all HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa among people ages 15 to 24 are young women

Nearly half

of all sexual assaults worldwide are against girls 15 and younger

One sixth

of the world’s young people live on less than $2 a day, including 122 million girls in Sub-Saharan Africa who live on less than $1 a day.

One-quarter to one-half

of girls in developing countries become mothers before 18, and girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during childbirth than women in their 20s

82 million girls

in developing countries who are now between the ages of 10 and 17 will be married before their 18th birthday

‘Sport for Development’ programs have become powerful, worldwide tools that are turning the tide of gender disparity and its effects. In 1995, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter declared “The future of football is feminine.”  There were 4.1 million females playing soccer around the world within organized structures in 2006, and today that number has increased to 29 million. This number has so dramatically increased as women’s football has been promoted worldwide through events, campaigns, competitions and development programs.

This has massive impact on the development of young women in third-world countries. Many of these girls have no access to sports or other activities, very few friendships with other girls, and work almost exclusively in the home until they’re married off in their early teens. Through Goals for Girls and partner efforts, many now choose to become educated, socially connected, and committed to being change-makers in the world around them.

Goals for Girls works to transfer the lessons they learn from soccer into every area of their lives. Our programs ignite the internal belief that young women have tremendous ability to take their passions and ideas and spark change, both inside and outside their own sphere of influence.

Our Team

Ian Oliver

Founder/President, Chairman of the Board

Ian’s work focuses on international enterprise development, managing new market entry, international sales, and brand strategy on behalf of American businesses expanding or establishing investments in Africa and the Middle East. He is currently a founding partner at International Strategy and Implementation Consultants, founder of Africa Talent Management, and a member of the DC/VA District Export Council.

Coupled with his work in export growth and strategy for companies, Ian has an extensive background and network in international development initiatives and impact-driven social change programs. He has structured and led the growth of several large-scale and sustainable public-private-partnerships and corporate responsibility activities in emerging markets on behalf of U.S. government agencies including USAID, PEPFAR, CDC, and the Department of State, as well as large multinational companies and institutions including Johns Hopkins, Johnson & Johnson, FIFA, among others.

Ian believes strongly in aligning corporate goals with social and impact investing and counsels clients on making the business case for impact-investing and public-private-partnerships in emerging markets. He has a passion for giving back through the global appeal of soccer and is the founder of several soccer initiatives including: Ragball International, a financial education project supporting young people across Africa by providing a marketplace for the sale of handmade soccer balls; Goals for Girls, an international initiative of girls helping girls through the game of soccer in partnership with icons of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team; and DC Soccer, a non-profit organization serving the needs of the soccer community in the greater Washington, DC area.

Ian has coached youth soccer for over 20 years in the Washington, DC area.

Cindy Parlow-Cone

Outreach Director

As a member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Cindy won two Olympic gold medals, one silver and one FIFA World Cup. Upon retiring from her playing career, Cindy served as an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina leading them to a 2012 NCAA National Championship. In 2013, as the head coach of Portland Thorns professional team, she led the team to the inaugural NWSL championship.

After winning the NWSL championship, Cindy realized that her true passion was coaching young girls and impacting their lives on a daily basis. She moved back to North Carolina and currently is the Associate Director for Triangle United and oversees all the girls programming.

Cindy has traveled with Goals for Girls to South Africa (2010), Peru (2012), and India (2013/14). With the U.S. State Department, Cindy has traveled as a sports envoy to Bahrain (2006), El Salvador (2008), and Azerbaijan (2010). Also through the US State Department, she has hosted and coached both Iraqi (2013) and Jordanian (2015) girls in her home town of Chapel Hill, NC.

Jackie Skinner

Programs Director

Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Jackie taught Social Studies for three years while serving as the student government advisor and head varsity soccer coach at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, garnering the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year award.

During her teaching tenure, Jackie served as the Uganda Country Director for HELP International where she led 29 university students in creating self-sustaining development projects in rural villages. While in Uganda, Jackie dreamed of bringing her high school girls soccer team to the country to work with war-affected girls in the North. She joined Goals for Girls in 2009, and did just that.

Jackie then moved to Washington, DC to work for the United States Agency for International Development in the offices of Food for Peace and Foreign DIsaster Assistance. Jackie currently lives in Arizona where she now serves as the International Programs Director for Goals for Girls and Research Coordinator for the Anasazi Foundation, a wilderness therapy and survival program helping troubled teens and adults.

Joseph Schoenbauer

Chief Operating Officer

Joe joined DC Soccer in 2005 and brought with him a wealth of knowledge concerning local, national and international soccer news and events. He became a board member in 2008 and the Chief Operating Officer in 2011. Joe currently works at US soccer agency James Grant Sports Ltd as the Director of U.S. Operations. Prior to joining James Grant Sports Ltd. in 2006, Joe worked for Grassroot Soccer, an international NGO where he was the Refugee Camp Program Coordinator in Zambia. Joe received his B.A. in Sport Management and Communication Studies from Stetson University in 2003. He received his Master’s in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University in 2011.

Patricia Benton

Treasurer

Patricia is one of the founding members of DC Soccer and has served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the organization since 2002. She is the Vice President, Chief Operating Officer for the Salzburg Global Seminar. She is responsible for managing the financial and operational affairs of the organization.  Patricia is the former Vice President and General Manager of Comsat World Systems, a $250 million dollar telecommunications company with over 200 employees. Patricia has also worked as a consultant providing senior financial management services to a number of non-profit organizations: Gender at Work, CIVICUS, The Partnership for Transparency Fund, and DC Stoddert Soccer.  Patricia has an MBA in Finance from George Washington University, a BA in Economics and French from Brown University and she is a CPA.

Lorena Curry

Accountant

Loreena has a degree in accounting from the University of Buenos Aires with several years of financial and contract management expertise. Her most recent experience was five years as the Chief Financial Officer for two local, related non-profit organizations specializing in foreign development and investment. Of particular relevance to DC Soccer, her experience includes generating complex financial statements, budget development, tracking grants, payroll and generating quarterly reports for the Board of Directors.

Jessica Cates-Bristol

Board member

Jessi joined DC Soccer in 2005 as the Scholarship Coordinator. She traveled to South Africa (2007), for the inaugural Goals for Girls program and became a board member in 2008. In 2005, Jessi worked for Grassroot Soccer, an international NGO where she was the Street Children Program Coordinator in Zambia. Jessi received her Master’s Degree in Social Work and her Juris Doctor in 2013 from the University of Maryland. Prior to continuing her education at the University of Maryland, Jessi worked with Maryland Choices. She also completed internships in Senator Ben Cardin’s Office, the Public Defender Service of D.C., and High Road Upper School. Currently, Jessi  works as a School Based Mental Health Therapist for Mary’s Center. Jessi was a four-year D1 college soccer player at the University of Miami & Stetson University.

Alex Bearman

Board member

Alex is the Executive Director of District Sports in Washington,DC which provides soccer leagues to nearly 5,000 adult participants annually. Alex has forged strong strategic relationships with the DC Public Schools, DC Department of Park and Recreation, and non-profit partners to promote community recreation for individuals of all abilities and ages. Under his leadership, District Sports has directed extensive resources towards sport-based development organizations such as DC SCORES, Grassroots Soccer, United for DC and the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

Alex also works with Street Soccer USA where he manages a number of special events including their annual soccer tournament in Times Square. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a Master’s of Sports Industry Management from Georgetown.

Len Oliver

Board Member

Len has a Ph.D. in Adult/Continuing Education from the University of Chicago and served as the Special Assistant to the Chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Len has published two books and some 30 articles and is a spokesperson for the study circle movement in the United States. He has also given motivational speeches linking soccer with organizational life.

Len has spent his life in sports, playing on the U.S. Pan-American and Olympic Soccer Teams (1963-1964), as a professional in the American Soccer League, and on all-star teams in six different cities. He holds the USSF ‘A’ Coaching License and FIFA-USSF Referee License, serves as Director of Coaching for DC Stoddert Soccer League, and as State Staff Coach with Virginia Youth Soccer Association. He continues to coach youth soccer and offers USSF-licensed coaching courses, training over 5,000 coaches from 83 countries.

Len’s honors include: Induction into the Temple University Athletic Hall of Fame (1981), USSF National Soccer Hall of Fame (1996), Philadelphia Oldtimers Soccer Hall of Fame (1998), the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame (2001), VYSA’s “Exemplary Service Award” (1997), and NSCAA’s “Long-Term Youth Achievement Award.” Serves on numerous soccer boards and committees, including DC Stoddert Soccer, DC Soccer, Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame (Chair), NSCAA’s Editorial Board, and NSCAA’s Youth Long-Term Service Award Committee (Chair).

Our Ambassadors

Goals for Girls Ambassadors have excelled at the highest levels of sport and are inspiring role models and leaders both on and off the field. They embody the passion and characteristics we hope to develop in the girls that participate in our programming. Our Ambassadors champion our efforts to teach valuable life skills through soccer to girls around the world.

Stay tuned for more information and profiles of our Ambassadors.

Our Partners and Stakeholders

Our Other Partners and Stakeholders

Johnson and Johnson   |   South African Airways   |   Peruvian Football Federation   |   Academy for Educational Development (AED)   |   Namibian Ministries of Education, Health, & Youth  |   Helen Zille, Premier of Western Cape   |   South African Women’s National Soccer Team   |   Uganda Football Association   |   United States Soccer Foundation  |   Calle U.S. Soccer Retailer   |   Hope for Richmond   |   The Washington Post   |   Quinnox   |   Sports Endeavors, Inc.