Malawi’s Ascent Soccer partners with Uganda’s football academy

Malawi’s Ascent Soccer has agreed to a working partnership with Uganda’s Football for Good (FFG) to grow regional youth football, scholarships and global pathways for the still untapped talent of East and Central Africa.

The partnership banner
Ascent Soccer players in action
Football for Good products

The partnership was agreed on September 1st and in a joint statement, FFG founder Adrian Bradbury said since 2015, Ascent and FFG have been working together in which they scouted close to 50,000 youth and hosted a combined more than 75 residential academy scholars.

The two academies have also nurtured 18 national team representatives at the Under-15, 17 and 20 levels, developed eight continental professionals and have produced 4 global scholars, who are currently enrolled at Taft School (Watertown, Connecticut), Indian Mountain School (Lakeville, Connecticut) and St. Andrew’s College (Toronto, Canada).

“Ascent and FFG have more than 10 years experience in youth football and talent development, and this initial agreement will see the two organizations sharing ideas and exploring co-hosted events, while developing management, coach and player exchanges.

“We have a ton of respect for Ascent’s work in Malawi, and we know that there’s plenty we can learn from their people, approach and global network, which can only benefit our work in Uganda and beyond,” Bradbury is quoted as saying.

Ascent Soccer’s founder George Maguire said they have long been inspired and excited by the ground-breaking work that Bradbury and his team at FFG have led in Uganda in redefining holistic player development for gifted male and female players.

“In late 2018, I was privileged to see the work first hand in Kampala, meeting the staff and players and learning some of their stories first hand.

“We believe greater, more sustainable impact is possible through our partnership, driven by the sharing of ideas and experiences, as well as an expanded network with bigger and brighter opportunities for all,” said Maguire, who was honoured with Malawi Sport’s 2019 Non-Citizen of the Year award in February this year for his outstanding contributions to the development of sports in the country.

In their academy programs, Ascent and FFG have already worked with youth talent from across the region, including Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

“This working agreement is one more step towards expanding opportunities for the region’s youth, coaches and administrators.”

Meanwhile, Ascent Soccer’s pioneer graduates, Zobran Elias and Lughano Nyondo started their academic and football pursuits in the United States of American at Taft School of Connecticut and Indian Mountain School respectively.

This will be Zobran’s second stint in US in which after one year of schooling and excellent performance on the pitch, he won himself a scholarship at Taft as a Davis International Scholar.

Last July, Lughano was in Paris, France as part of a global documentary being produced on gifted female players called ‘This Girl Wears Cleats’, being produced by French Dog Productions of Seattle, USA.

The documentary, that has been in production since May 2018 and has seen two film crews visiting Malawi, profiles gifted female players from all over the world and the challenges they face in pursuing their goals.

Whilst in France, Lughano attended the Women’s World Cup final in Lyon and also spent time in Paris with the other players in the documentary including girls from Jamaica, America and South Africa.

Maguire says after a robust, year-long scouting effort, they have evaluated over 4,500 youngsters.

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