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Football Coaching Volunteer Project

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Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Football in South Africa
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Trip Code: ZAVFB1
Duration: 5 Weeks - 12 Weeks
From £995 for 5 Weeks + £175 per Week
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Volunteer in South AfricaVolunteers at the BeachFootball Project in South Africa

Coach Football to children from under-privileged communities in South Africa and help to create the next Stephen Pienaar.

Football in South Africa
Football is the most popular sport among Township school children in South Africa and so participation is always high. Volunteers work as a team to design sessions that can be progressed and built upon over the course of the weeks. A steady and organised schedule of schools allows volunteers to view the progress that pupils are making, helping them to design their up-coming sessions accordingly.

Session targets change weekly and include various aspects of football. Coaches often concentrate on aspects of the sport including passing, shooting, dribbling and tackling. Volunteers also use coaching as a vessel to teach important life skills such as communication, decision making, team-work and leadership.

Whilst it is not essential that coaches have any previous coaching experience, it is important that a high level of energy and enthusiasm is brought to each session as well as an appreciation for the game being played. The coaches will gain a great deal more from the experience if the volunteer is passionate about what it is that they are teaching and has an interest in working with kids. United Through Sport advise that the volunteers have had some playing experience in the relevant sport.

One of the most rewarding elements of working with the United Through Sport organisation is the volunteers' direct contribution to the Junior School of Excellence (JSE). Volunteers have the unique privilege through United Through Sport to drastically improve the level of education of some of the young sportsmen and women they believe deserve the opportunity. Over the course  of their time in South Africa, coaches are encouraged to submit evaluations, grading individual pupils not only on their sporting ability, but also on their behaviour, attendance, academic performance and, most importantly, their will to succeed.

Many of the children coached in the sessions do not receive the same levels of affection and care that is received in other parts of the world, both at school and in their home lives. Therefore, the children often look to the volunteers for love and attention. It is not uncommon for the children to become excited to the point that volunteers have a dozen kids climbing all over them. The bond between a volunteer and the kids they coach often becomes very strong and saying goodbye can be the hardest thing for all involved.  

CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
To take part in this project we advise participants to complete a CRB/ DBS (Criminal Records Bureau). United Through Sport can provide this service for you at an additional cost of £30. For more information on the application process please take a look at the relevant Add On Tab. 

Quick Facts

Trip Name
Football Coaching Volunteer Project
Trip Code
South Africa
Port Elizabeth (airport code PLZ)
Minimum Duration
5 Weeks
Maximum Duration
12 Weeks
Minimum Age
Trip Type
From £995 for 5 Weeks + £175 per Week
£ 200.00
Preferred Duration
At least 5 weeks but if you can come for the full 12 weeks it makes a massive positive impact on our projects
Knowledge of football and the rules of the game. Good communication skills and a willingness to muck in where required.
Ideal for
Gap years, students, career breaks, sports science students, those wanting to get experience in sports coaching, those wanting to become a physical education teacher.
• • •

Arrival Dates

Programme Dates 2019

12th Jan - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks

16th Feb - 5 weeks, 6 weeks

30th Mar* - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks

04th May - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks

06th July - 5 weeks

17th Aug* - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks

21st Sep - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks

Programme Dates 2020

11th Jan - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks

15th Feb - 5 weeks, 6 weeks

04th Apr - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks

09th May - 5 weeks, 6 weeks

04th July - 5 weeks

15th Aug* - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks, 8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, 12 weeks

19th Sep - 5 weeks, 6 weeks, 7 weeks

* indicates you can come on this date for a full 12 week trip (maximum duration).

Our swimming programme only runs in Jan, Feb and Sep each year due to using outside pools.

Note 1: 5 weeks = 35 nights, 6 weeks = 42 nights, 7 weeks = 49 nights, 8 weeks = 56 nights, 9 weeks = 63 nights, 10 weeks = 70 nights, 11 weeks = 77 nights, 12 weeks = 84 nights

Note 2: dates are based on school holidays and are subject to change.

Note 3:  All programmes run from Saturday to Saturday

SA Experience Dates 2019

22nd - 29th March 2019 (7 nights)

14th - 21st June 2019  (7 nights)

09th - 16th August 2019  (7 nights)

01st - 08th November 2019  (7 nights)

SA Experience Dates 2020

20th - 27th March 2020 (7 nights)

12th - 19th June 2020  (7 nights)

07th - 14th August 2020  (7 nights)

30th - 06th November 2020  (7 nights)

British Nationals only require a visa to enter South Africa is they intend on staying over 90 days. Click here to check your eligibility or to get a tourist visa for visit over 90 days. 

• • •


Accommodation is at our volunteer lodge, sharing a room (four to ten people per room). Simple yet comfortable. Shared toilet, shower facilities, and communal areas for socialising. Single and double rooms may be available, ask one of our staff for more information.
Three daily meals will be provided.
Airport Transfers
Collection and drop off at Port Elizabeth International Airport for your flight.
On arrival you will be given a two day induction.
On the premises of the volunteer accommodation we have our office where 8 of our local staff members work. We provide 24 hour support as there are two staff members on site at all times.
70% of your fee is a donation to the local charity.
• • •

Not Included

Flights; Travel Insurance; Visas; Vaccinations; Spending money; In country travel; Laundry service; Extra activities not on itinerary.
• • •

The accommodation consists of separate sex dormitory style rooms each with their own shower and toilet facilities. Volunteers all have access to multiple communal areas, with WiFi and televisions available, including the South African equivalent of Sky. A gym is also available for volunteers to use. Located within the grounds is a swimming pool, games area, fully stocked shop/bar, BBQ area and a small playing field. Laundry facilities are available for a minimal cost.

The site is in a safe area, with electronic gates. Security guards also work every evening from 6pm to 6am. Located in every dormitory there are lockers available for volunteers to store their valuables, therefore it is advised that volunteers bring their own small padlock. United Through Sport also has a link with a local taxi company to aid volunteers in travelling around safely in their free time.

CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
To take part in this project we advise that participants complete a CRB/ DBS check. United Through Sport has a partnership with a third party organisation that processes all CRB/DBS checks and disclosures on behalf of the United Through Sport team. This is a very straightforward process making the application as quick an easy for the volunteer as possible. United Through Sport can provide this service for you at an additional cost of £30. For more information on the application process please take a look at the relevant Add On tab. 

South Africa

The 'Rainbow Nation' as it is often referred to is a true reflection of such diversity of cultures, landscapes and people.  From the blue flag beaches of the South Cost, to the Desert of the Karoo and Mountain Kingdoms of the Drakensburg, South Africa has something that appeals to everyone.

The recent history of South Africa is well known throughout the world and icons such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have contributed to South Africa's global status as one of the worlds most remarkable democracies.  As a result, it is now firmly on the map for many international visitors who wish to discover it's heritage but also take advantage of some of the best safari viewing in the world, the most breathtaking landscapes and the perfect water sport environment.

Believed to be the birth place of humanity, South Africa has a richness of spirit that once experienced you will never forget it.

Quick Facts
Republic of South Africa
Bordering Countries
Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland
Capital City
Pretoria (official); Bloemfontein (judicial) and Cape Town (legislative)
Democratic Republic
50 million
11 official languages; English, Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, Xhosa and Zulu
Rand (ZAR)
Republic of South Africa
50% of population below poverty line
Main Exports
Gold, diamonds, metals and minerals, cars, machinery
Temperate year round
Time Zone
GMT + 2
South Africa Flag

Table Mountain - one of the 7 natural wonders of the world
Big Five Safari - see Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo
Magnificent beaches - from un-spoilt beaches to water sports havens all along the South Coast
Adventure Activities Galore - Bungee Jumping, Shark Cage Diving, Sky Diving, White Water Rafting

Fun Facts
Hosted the Fifa World Cup in 2010
Birth place to Nelson Mandela - the biggest modern day global icon
Has 11 official languages

Leopard Cub Tribal Warriors

History of South Africa
South Africa has an extremely interesting history that has lead to the wonderful diversity of its present day cultures and people. The original indigenous people of South Africa were known as the Khoi and San. They were simple nomadic tribes who moved in small communities following the game animals that they hunted to survive.

After the 5th century tribes of the Bantu nations began to migrate south from the equatorial regions and settle in South Africa. These larger tribes of darker skinned Africans dominated the original inhabitants and either moved them on or mixed with them to form combined more settled communities. This then established some of the newer more interesting languages of the current South Africa, such as Xhosa (which basically evolved from a mix of Nguni and the indigenous Inqua language) which is full of clicks typically inherited from the Khoi and San languages.

Not long after the migration of people from the central African regions south came the arrival of European settlers from the sea in the South. First the Portuguese and then the Dutch in 1652 began settling and moving further inland to the fertile soils where they could make permanent farming settlements.  As the majority of Dutch settlers became farmers the colloquial name for them was developed Boer (meaning farmer in Dutch). English settlers began arriving in their droves after 1820 after which followed a period of unrest and conflict between the English and Boers (Dutch) which generally lead to the Boers moving further inland and the British making settlements along the coast, however it eventually culminated in the Anglo-Boer war between 1899 and 1902.  After the British won the war South Africa was broadly split in two with the British colony spanning the Eastern and Southern side of the country and the Afrikaans State spanning the North and East.  However in 1910 the two parties formed a union government and South Africa fought as an allied force of Great Britain in the First World War.

Throughout the colonisation of South Africa, slaves had been brought to the land from Madagascar, East Indies and Indonesia. The Coloured race as it is know in South Africa today was broadly formed from a mixture of the indigenous Khoisan, Bantu, imported slaves and European settlers – mostly speaking the language known as Afrikaans (similar to old style Dutch).

From 1948 after a string of successive Afrikaans governments the then National Party formalised and extended the systematic laws of racial discrimination into the legal system of apartheid. During this period until 1991 black people were denied their basic human rights and were subjected to an endless list of discriminatory laws.

Apartheid officially ended in 1991 and the first fully democratic election (where black people were allowed to vote) took place in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected as the first black president of a free and democratic South Africa.

Nelson Mandela has been subsequently hailed as the ‘Father of the Nation’ and is lauded for his handling of the transition of power from apartheid state to democracy and leading South Africa towards the ‘Rainbow Nation’ that exists today.

Travelling in South Africa
Being roughly 8 times the size of the UK, South Africa is vast and has huge diversity in it’s landscapes and activities.  Although many parts are remote, so when going ‘off the beaten track’ hiring a car is your best method of getting around.

Between the major cities the various bus and rail networks are good and reliable. The ‘Baz Bus’ is also a great way of travelling between various backpacker hostels as if offers a hop-on and hop-off service taking you door to door.

The stretch between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, known as the garden route is one of the most popular and widely travelled parts of South Africa and offers a stunning coastal route full of wildlife, flora and fauna and adventure activities.

Flying is still the quickest a most convenient mode of transport with regular flights and easy access to airports at all of the major towns and cities.

Gap Years and Career Breaks
South Africa is a fantastic option for people wanting to take a gap year or career break.  With an endless list of activities available you can easily get your fix of wildlife, culture, community projects and social activities.  With great food and plenty of tourist activities yet still a high level of poverty and important community work to get involved with South Africa provides the perfect environment to spend some meaningful time combining travel and volunteer work.

Safety Assurance
Before you even book your volunteer experience with us a lot of time and effort has gone into safety and risk assessments and standards to make sure that all of the placement we offer are fully safe, secure and provide maximum support to ensure the best quality placements possible.

Help Choosing the right Placement
Our staff know our programmes inside out so you can be assured that by getting to know you and your needs they will be able help you select the best possible placement for you based on their extensive knowledge of our programmes

Pre-departure Advice and Support
Once you have booked your trip you will be assigned to one of our travel advisors to help you plan and prepare everything you need for your trip including any information about visa’s, vaccinations or kit to take with you.  They will be on hand right up to your day of departure to answer any last minute questions you might have.

Help with Flights and Insurance
Although we do not offer flights and insurance directly (to allow you maximum flexibility in choosing these options) we do have partnerships with industry leading organisations who can provide both services for you and ensure you are paying the most affordable rates and are offered tailor made packages to suit your travelling requirements.

The accommodation is a backpacker style hostel made up of single sex dorm rooms of 4 to 8 people.  The communal spaces are very comfortable, with a swimming pool, games room (table tennis and pool), bar and shop, TV room (with sky TV), dining area, two volunteer kitchens and a large open space to play football, cricket, volley ball.
It is within walking distance of local shops, bars and restaurants.

Three meals a day are provided.  Breakfast and lunch are self prepared and consist of serials, toast, fruit and crisps.  Supper is a home cooked meal prepared by our resident chef and ranges from burger and chips, to curry, to pasta to roast chicken.

All placement transport is included. This includes airport transfers, and daily drop off and pick up at your placement.

A number of free excursions are included throughout the 12 week cycle including:
Township tour
Visit to local game reserve
Visit to Jeffrey Bay – home of surfing in South Africa
Visit to Bloukrans – worlds highest commercial bungee jump
Traditional African drumming and dance performance
Authentic Meal under the stars at a traditional African boma

In Country Support
The local country office is located on the same site as the volunteer accommodation, with 19 local permanent staff members.  All volunteer activities are accompanied by local staff.  Volunteer Coordinating staff stay on-site for 24 hour support and two night security guards ensure the safety of the volunteer group.

Of your fee, 70% goes directly to the local charity, which will cover all the direct costs of your placement as well as support for equipment, school fees and transport for local children in the programmes.

South African Airways beach

After you have booked you placement with us you will need to organise your flights and insurance.

Flights and travel insurance are not included in your trip but are essential to your travel, which means you will have to arrange them before you leave. But don't panic! To make life easier for you, we offer a free, personal booking service through our chosen flights partner – StudentUniverse. They will guide you every step of the way.

Please do not go into a store/branch as we have a specific team based in London who can deal with your requirements and are also familiar with how we operate to make sure you get the best service possible and end up where you are meant to!

Please click here to use the flight search engine or call the StudentUniverse team.

Talk To Us
We have a team of friendly Travel Advisors working round the clock to answer any questions you may have. So if you need any advice, or are wondering what volunteering for United Through Sport is like, just drop us a line, email us, or ask for a call back and we would be more than happy to have a chat!

Book Your Place
When you are ready to book your place, simply get in touch with us and we will guide you through the simple application process. We do ask that to secure your place, you provide us with a small deposit so that we can plan our projects effectively. The rest of the fee can be paid in manageable installments.

Welcome Pack
Once you have booked and paid your deposit, we will be in touch to confirm your place and provide you with the login details for our online Travel Centre, which is full of all the information you need before heading out to volunteer with us.

Flights and Insurance
After you have booked your flights and arranged travel insurance, make sure you let us know these details so we know when you are arriving! These are not added into the project fee so that you can avoid any unnecessary administrative costs, and to give you more flexibility, but our partners will be able to help you find the best options.

Visas and Vaccinations
You will also have to make sure you have all the vaccinations and visas for your project. We can provide you with lots of information to help you obtain your visa, and your GP or travel clinic will be able to tell you exactly which vaccinations you need.

Once you get here, look forward to a warm welcome from our team at the airport to take you to your accommodation. They will make sure you are fully settled in and understand your new surroundings.  

"Football is such a powerful tool to bring kids together to have fun and build friendships and it was great to be part of what United Through Sport are doing for them."

Ben Spier

Playing football with the children in South Africa was amazing. Doing my favorite sport and doing something good for the people who need it the most is really something we all have to do once in our lives. In Holland I give football training as well but i saw never this enthusiasm and these ear to ear smiles. These 5 months were an experience that I would never forget.

Tomas Rongen (NL)
1. How much spending money will I need?
It varies depending on the amount of excursions. For a 5 week stay volunteers usually bring from £400 - £1000 (€500 - €1,200) depending on how many excursions and how sociable they intend to be.

2. Are there ATM’s nearby.
The nearest ATM is just a 2 minute walk from the United Through Sport base.

3. How should I manage my money?
It is recommended that volunteers bring a small amount of cash, and carry the majority of their spending money on a cash card/cash passport. The Post Office provides a card that avoids any charges for withdrawing cash.

4. Can I speak to the other volunteers that will be coming?
United Through Sport will provide means of communicating with other volunteers prior to arriving in South Africa. This may be via social media or via e-mails.

5. What can I do to support the charity in advance?
United Through Sport appreciates any extra help from volunteers. It is recommended that volunteers who wish to make donations either bring items with them to South Africa, or bring enough money to purchase extra equipment in South Africa, rather than donating items to our UK office, as the costs of transporting items tends to be too expensive. Some volunteers bring other items (e.g. Small toys, sports shirts, etc.) to give to the children during their stay. Normal coaching equipment is provided for every sport as part of your placement fee.

6. How much time is spent coaching?
Volunteers work at 3 schools each day Monday – Friday. Each session lasts 90 minutes. This is weather permitting, but everything is done to ensure as much coaching as possible takes place. Expect to be out working for approximately 6 hours per day.

7. Who will we coach?
The majority of children coached are aged between 10-13 years old. However, in smaller schools, it is common for either slightly older or younger children to take part as well to boost the number of children participating.  All schools worked in are in disadvantaged township communities.

8. Will there be any training provided?
Coaching does not begin straight away. United Through Sport provide a 2 day long induction where you learn about the program, as well as some coaching techniques. In addition to this, the induction is a great place to meet with and learn from your fellow coaches.

9. How much free time is there?
You are free to do what you wish in the evenings after coaching and at the weekends. Much of the time is taken up by excursions and other organised events. Volunteers still have plenty of time to relax, unwind and explore the local area.

10. What experience and/or qualifications are required?
United Through Sport does not require any qualifications or previous coaching experience. However, it is recommended that volunteers have had some playing experience at any level in the sport they wish to coach. Although of course the more proficient the volunteer is in their respective sports, the more it will aid them when working with the children.  The most important thing is enthusiasm to work with kids. 
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  • "I had the most amazing 5 months ever. Working with the charity and seeing the impact they have on some many lives was just incredible. Thanks to all involved."
    Ruben Baarda (NL) , Hockey, South Africa
  • Tennis is so important to me that I'm glad I was able to use it to help the young children in Port Elizabeth. I had a blast!"
    Dimitri Le Vourch , Tennis, South Africa
  • I am really thankful to the guys of United Through Sport which gave me this opportunity to teach tennis to hundreds of great South African children. These 5 weeks made me a very happy girl and changed my life back in Holland in a positive way as well.
    Maud Calame (NL) , Tennis, South Africa
  • Watching the kids improving in the water was so moving I can't think of a more rewarding way to spend a summer. Phenomenal."
    Amy Nicholls , Swimming, South Africa
  • "Taking my love of tennis to Argentina was a dream come true. I will never forget this once in a life time opportunity to play and coach tennis to a range of abilities in such a great country. Thanks to all who were part of this!"
    Emily Prescott , Tennis, Argentina
  • Teaching in Argentina was better than I ever expected it to be. It was very emotional saying goodbye and I will miss the buzz of excitement we used to get before arriving at the schools and the incredible welcome the kids would always give us."
    Sam Edwards , Teaching, South Africa
  • "I loved it, just loved it! Hope to get involved with United Through Sport again in the future!!"
    Max Vigor , Teaching, South Africa
  • Great tour! Met some lovely people in South Africa, me and the guys loved the warmth that we were met with and the teams we played against were fantastic, it was good to Braai with those guys after the games. Superb"
    Matthew Brannigan , Sports Tours, South Africa
  • We were all impressed with the standard of football that we were up against in South Africa and it definitely brought out the best in us. As for the opposition, a great bunch of lads."
    Jonny Cox , Sports Tours, South Africa
  • "What an amazing time I had in Argentina, I miss it already. Alejandro, our coordinator, showed us all a fantastic time. Thanks United Through Sport!!!"
    Tom Leahy , Football, Argentina
  • "Thank you to everyone at United Through Sport. I have had my eyes open to the poverty in Argentina. It is so important that volunteers continue to sign up, they will not regret it"
    Declan Cockpu , Football, Argentina
  • "The most amazing experience of my life. I enjoyed this opportunity so much that I now live in Ghana and work for the charity's sports academy".
    Alex Burrows , Football, Ghana
  • "This was my first time in Africa and it was such an eye opener. An amazing opportunity to coach the academy lads at United Through Sport."
    Tom Lyonette , Football, Ghana
  • "I loved the friendships I made through the netball sessions and it's great to see what this charity is doing for so many."
    Anna Robinson , Netball, Ghana
  • "I volunteered on a netball project in 2010 and loved it so much that I never went back. Ghana is my favourite place on earth and I just love the Dzandza brothers who look after you."
    Liz Wells , Netball, Ghana
  • "Such an amazing time spent with all my Ghanaian friends. Thanks so much for making the netball experience such a fantastic and unforgettable time."
    Natalie Schaffer , Netball, Ghana
  • "This was a unique experience. Working in all areas of Ghanaian athletics has given me a great understanding of how athletics is developing in West Africa."
    Josh Curtis , Athletics, Ghana
  • "I play a lot of golf in the USA, so to have the chance to play in Ghana and also coach kids was a fantastic experience."
    Peter Lamenzo , Golf, Ghana
  • "It was great to work alongside the Ghana Golf Association to help run tournaments as well as coaching for the young caddys."
    Peter Dunmore , Golf, Ghana
  • "This was such a rewarding project that got great results. Seeing kids who were scared of the water gradually gain confidence was amazing."
    Rob Scott , Swimming, Ghana
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