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5 Under-18 Belize Women National Team football players travel to Princeton University in New Jersey under the United States Sports Visitor Program

Posted: Wednesday, June 21, 2023. 6:15 pm CST.

Photo Credit: US Embassy Belize

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Five Under-18 Belize Women National Team football players are travelling to the United States to participate in a two-week sports camp at Princeton University in New Jersey under the United States Sports Visitor Program.

The five players, namely Karel Avila, Shamika Lambey, Nigelee Myers, Elva Nunes, and Chelsea Chuc are being accompanied by ex-FFB Director of Women’s Football and now Director of the National Sports Council Iris Centeno.

“Sports bring together people across borders and cultures and serve as a vehicle to improving women and girls’ leadership roles and participation in decision-making,” US Ambassador Michelle Kwan said at the launch of the United States Sports Visitors Program in Belize at the Football Federation of Belize in Belmopan on Tuesday.

“We are proud to stand behind #TeamBelize and redefine what sports can mean toward building a more inclusive, secure, and equitable world.”

US Ambassador Michelle Kwan addressing the Under-18 players participating in the US Department of State’s Sports Visitor Program. (Photo Credit: US Embassy)

During the launch, the five young women got a pep talk from US soccer legend Judy Foudy.

Foudy, a former captain of the United States National Football Team, won two FIFA Women’s World Cups and two Olympic gold medals with the United States.

“You’re making history. You are the first group from Belize to be part of the US Sports Visitor Program,” Foudy said.

“Another sign of how far we’ve all come with women’s sports and another opportunity for you all to blaze past, to be breaking barriers, to be trail blazers. It’s essentially what you are because all these girls behind you are going to see what you’re doing and will want to be equally successful. So, congratulations again to all five of you. Have a fabulous time in the United States.”

The five players participating in the US Department of State’s Sports Visitor Program, namely Chelsea Chuc, Nigelee Myers, Shamika Lambey, Elva Nunes, and Karel Avila, along with Minister of State for Sports Gilroy Usher, US Ambassador Michelle Kwan, FFB President Sergio Chuc, chaperone National Sports Council Director Iris Centeno, and Minister of Sports Rodwell Ferguson. (Photo Credit: US Embassy)

The U.S. Department of State’s Sports Visitor Program is a sports-based exchange that takes young non-elite athletes, coaches, and administrators from different countries to the United States. The program essentially uses sports to positively impact communities around the world, the US Embassy said.

The five Under-18 Belize Women’s National Team players and Centeno will participate in two weeks of classroom and field activities. The program will focus on topics such as nutrition, gender equity, sport and disability, and team building.

“Affording girls equal access and opportunities in sports empowers them and creates a positive ripple effect toward a more inclusive, secure, and equitable society,” the United States Embassy said.



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