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January 11, 2012 11:15 PM

Ball State University, in partnership with Indiana Soccer and the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies, received a two-year grant from the United States State Department’s International Sports Programming Initiative (ISPI) to support Soccer for Peace and Understanding in Jordan. Through the project, Ball State University will partner with Leaders of TomorrowJordan Football Association, and Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre to teach 
 and peaceful living skills through soccer clinics for youth coaches and athletes.  Soccer for Peace and Understanding is designed to strengthen ties at the person-to-person level and trains youth sport coaches to focus on peacemaking and conflict resolution. The Center for International Development assisted with the writing of the proposal and will be instrumental in the project management and implementation. 
The program aims to promote empathetic on-going relations between Jordanian and U.S. youth soccer coaches, encourage youth soccer coaches’ effective citizenship behaviors with young athletes through soccer, advance Jordanians and U.S. youth soccer coaches’ knowledge about the technical aspects of coaching soccer effectively, and increase Jordanian and U.S. youth soccer players’ soccer skills while learning ways to peacefully interact with others of different cultures.
The Schedule
January 1 and 2 –  we traveled to Zarqa – Sponsored by the Leaders of Tomorrow
January 3 and 4 –  it was on to Amman – Sponsored by the Jordan Football Association
January 6 and 7 – the final leg of the tour saw us travel north to Ajloun – Sponsored by the Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre
The Team
Project Director - Dr. Lindsey C. Blom, Assistant Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Ball State University, certified sport psychology consultant, and D licensed soccer coach. Dr. Blom’s research expertise relates to the psycho-social aspects of youth sport and sport for peace and development. She co-authored Survival Guide for Coaching Youth Soccer and coached male and female youth soccer players at the club, high school, and Olympic Development level for 13+ years, with 7 state championships.
Main Soccer Instructor: Steve Franklin, Indiana Soccer Association Director of Education. For the past 16 years, Franklin served as the head-coach for IUPUI’s Men’s Soccer team where he developed Hall of Famers and All-Americans. Steve hails as the first coach in IUPUI’s history to take a team to the NCAA Division I tournament in any sport. Coach Franklin has earned an NSCAA Premier Diploma; an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma; and USSF “A” coaching license; the US Soccer National Youth Coaching License; and the US Youth Soccer TOPPSoccer state Coaching Certificate.
Peace Curriculum Coordinator – Dr. Lawrence Gerstein, George & Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Psychology – Counseling and Director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Ball State University. Dr. Gerstein has a long history of conducting community projects and is a recognized international expert in peace studies, international psychology, and social justice. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and Co-Editor of the International Forum – The Counseling Psychologist.
Coaching Education Expert – Dr. Lawrence W. Judge, Associate Professor of Coaching Education at Ball State University. Widely recognized as one of the premiere track and field coaches in the U.S., Dr. Judge has tutored All-Americans, national championships, and Olympians, justifying his recognition as 2003 NCAA assistant coach of the year and 2004 USATF coach/educator of the year. Dr. Judge is President for the National Council for the Accreditation of Coaching Education and has lectured in 37 different countries.
Cultural Exchange Expert – Dr. Edward E. Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Dr. Curtis has directed summer abroad programs and State Department-funded faculty-student exchanges in Jordan and served as visiting professor at the University of Jordanas a Fulbright Scholar.
Cultural Affairs and Interfaith Expert – Mr. Charlie WilesDirector of the International Interfaith Initiative and Co-Founder and Director Emeritus of the Peace Learning Center. Mr. Wiles has organized Habitat for Humanity projects in Jordan and introduced the Peace Learning Center’s Peace Education Workbook, translated into Arabic, to local youth service NGO’s.