Campus News

Ecuadorean Sports Leaders Travel to Kentucky

LEXINGTON, June 23, 2011 — Four Ecuadorean sports leaders will spend ten days in Central Kentucky, learning about sport as a tool for development and focusing on the importance of incorporating at-risk youth to the sport-for-development movement.

Individuals were chosen by the United States Embassy in Ecuador and Partners of the Americas representatives, based on previous experiences with sports and/or youth development. 

The group, which includes male and female coaches and program coordinators in soccer, basketball and chess, visited Washington D.C. from June 16-18 and will be in Kentucky from June 19-27.

In Washington, the group met with government officials and non-profits that address youth with disabilities, crime prevention, female inclusion and education on a daily basis.

In Lexington, the Ecuadorean visitors will participate in workshops and clinics and meet with university and local sports teams, clubs and leagues.

"Kentucky and Ecuador have been working together for over 45 years through Partners of the Americas," said Kentucky Partners Executive Director and UK Office of International Affairs Community Liaison Kay Roberts. "Since Kentucky has such a strong sports tradition, this program is an excellent fit for our partnership. This exchange offers us an opportunity to share information on utilizing sport as a catalyst to translate achievement in sports with the academic and personal lives of youth in Ecuador and in Kentucky."

The Kentucky program is being coordinated by Charles Spiegel, former Transylvania University Men’s Soccer Coach and former Kentucky Olympic Development Coach. The Ecuadoreans will be meeting with Gabriel Brown of Jessie Clark Middle School; Henry Clay High School Boy's Soccer Coach Tim Bernard; and other Fayette County Public School youth coaches. 

Additional highlights include sessions with Alan Stein, President of the Lexington Legends; Orlando Antigua, University of Kentucky Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach; Jack Ebel, Transylvania University Athletic Director; and other Lexington youth coaches. 

The four visitors will live with host families while in Kentucky. The group will stop in Miami before returning home to Ecuador to participate in a discussion and analysis of their experiences.

Support from Natasha’s Bistro and Bar, the UK Office of International Affairs, Kentucky Youth Soccer Association and others have helped make the trip to Kentucky possible. The trip was funded by the Department of State.

The Youth Sports Management Exchange (YSME) is a three-phase exchange program that will link sport officials (coaches, administrators, government sport officials) in Colombia and Ecuador with their Partners of the Americas counterparts in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts and South Carolina.

The goal of the YSME program is to increase and sustain sport and sport-related educational opportunities for marginalized youth in Ecuador, Colombia, and the United States.  It taps into powerful sport and youth networks, encourages cross-cultural understanding, utilizing sport as a catalyst to translate achievement in sports to participating youth’s academic and personal lives.

Partners of the Americas connects volunteers, institutions and communities to serve and to change lives. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy, Partners is one of the largest volunteer-based organizations in the Western Hemisphere engaged in social, economic and cultural development. By linking Latin America and the Caribbean with counterparts in the United States, Partners acts in long term, focused partnership with the people and places of the Americas. 

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs sponsors exchange programs and activities for students, educators, artists, athletes and professionals in different areas in the United States and in over 160 countries around the world.

Over 1 million people have been involved in the programs sponsored by the Bureau, including  40 Nobel Prize winners and more than 365 past and present government leaders.

For more information on the trip, please contact Spiegel at or (859) 268-1835.