In the process of covering International Portland Select FC, attending their US Open Cup qualifiers and running into coaches and their social media manager at various Portland soccer events and venues, I’ve become quite fond of the organization and what it stands for. So, when IPS FC assistant coach and former player Foday Kabba reached out to let me know about his other project, I was floored at the opportunity to help and to share. But instead of my telling you all about Kalabash Academy, I asked a few questions to help get the story out.
You’ve started a fairly new club here in Oregon, but what city and what league do you participate in?
We are a non-profit academy founded here in Portland, OR but operate in three different countries in West Africa (Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea).
Our academy focuses on providing an age-appropriate learning environment for kids who otherwise will never have this opportunity. You’ll find increased training, less total games, and more meaningful games.
What's your club's mission? What do you hope to accomplish?
Our primary purpose is to build communities and encourage growth through education, sports, and wellness in West Africa.
Mission: To build communities by delivering an inclusive soccer academy, fitness AND wellness experience to all.
The idea is to use education and soccer to offer youth in this poverty ridden countries a way to a better life. Those kids can in turn transform their immediate families and community.
It is also important to note that we are taking a new approach in making sure this academy will be around for a long time with a sustainable model. We will have a wellness/fitness center that is open to the general public and revenue generated from the wellness/fitness center is the means to sustaining the academy.
Who are the founders and coaches so far? Have they been connected to any clubs we might know of in the area?
I am the founder. We have a list of our coaches on the website. I am connected to FC Portland where I played as a youth and now coach for. And IPS as both a player and assistant coach.
How can locals get involved? Are you looking for assistance and support?
Locals can get involved by following our story, sharing our story, and getting involve by donating anything they can (time, money, material things, etc.)
And yes, we are always looking for assistance and support in whatever form that may be.
When does your club plan on starting play and where can people get in touch?
We have tryouts coming up in June (8th - 21st). Then the education and soccer curriculum start shortly after tryouts and selection process.
Kalabash Academy are sponsored by local Portland business, Nike, The Far Post, and by the youth organization founded by Portland soccer legend Clive Charles, FC Portland. Coach Kabba left on May 28th to get the Academy prepared for tryouts, which take place starting the first week June. Protagonist Soccer will be making stickers for Kalabash Academy, if you are interested in picking up a sticker reach out to the club—visit their website here and to become a sponsor or support their sponsors.