"The Warm Heart of Africa"
June 27-July 7th
Chicago Fire Junior North Shore players
Become a member of Ascent soccer academy in Malawi
Play beach soccer on the shores of Lake Malawi
Go on safari in the famous Liwonde National Park
Help organize a large community soccer tournament for local players
Phone: (206) 900-5436
Woza Soccer is excited to offer a 2020 soccer and service adventure in Malawi specifically for the players of Chicago Fire Juniors North Shore. Malawi, nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa,” is a tranquil, soccer-loving country in southeastern Africa. This 11-day trip features our inspiring partner Ascent Soccer, the top youth academy in the country that is using soccer to create an opportunity for Malawian children. Based in the city of Lilongwe, we’ll train with Ascent Soccer's youth academy and staff, organize a social impact soccer tournament for local clubs, and explore Malawi’s vibrant capital. On this trip, we’ll also visit the tropical shores of Lake Malawi to conduct community soccer projects, relax, and enjoy an authentic safari in Liwonde National Park.
Woza's service partner in Malawi is Ascent Soccer. The Academy is an inspiring soccer academy located in the capital city of Lilongwe. They maintain U-11 through U-17 boys squads with players receiving top-level education in soccer coaching, academics, and character development. They also have a U-15 girls team. Woza players will become full members of Ascent Soccer, train and play in friendly matches at the academy, work with staff coaches to implement local soccer clinics and see firsthand how a soccer academy can change lives. Ascent Soccer presents an innovative and exciting model for developing African talent as a means of providing real pathways out of poverty.
Days 1-2: Trip Start & Arrival
The group will depart from Chicago O'Hare in the morning for an overnight trip to LIlongwe, the capital city of Malawi. Upon arrival, the group will be met by Ascent staff, who will take us to our private vehicle for our trip to Cape Maclear, a beautiful town on Lake Malawi.
Days 2-5: School Visits and Coaching Clinics in Cape Maclear & Lake Malawi
While in Cape Maclear, the group will spend multiple days helping Ascent put on a soccer clinic for the local community. Not only is this a great chance to see how soccer can bring communities together, but it's also a fantastic opportunity to see how Ascent goes about their scouting trips to find the best talent in the country. On top of that, the group will also visit a local school and get the chance to play soccer and other games with the children. Other activities in Maclear include beach soccer on the beautiful beaches of Lake Malawi, and the chance to go out on a boat trip on our last day in Cape Maclear. After the boat trip, the group will hop back on the bus and head for Liwonde National Park.
Days 5-6: Safari in Liwonde National Park and Heading to Ascent Soccer
Upon arrival at Liwonde National Park, the group will settle into their accommodations. After dinner, the group will have the chance to see some incredible stars (and maybe even some wildlife) from the observation deck at the wildlife reserve. The following morning, the group will embark on a true African safari in one of the region's most famous wildlife reserves. By 4x4 vehicle in the morning and riverboat in the afternoon, we will explore the area with experienced park rangers searching for the elephants, hippos, crocodiles, kudu, leopards and the occasional visiting lion. From there, the group will board the bus and head to Lilongwe, where we'll get the chance to join Ascent Soccer.
Day 6-9: Joining Ascent Soccer
The morning after arriving in Lilongwe, the team will get a tour of the Capital city of Malawi, and then go to meet up with Ascent Soccer, where we'll enjoy a Welcome Ceremony at the academy, meeting all players and staff before jumping into our daily schedule of helping to coach the academy's youngest players and training with the older teams. During our time with Ascent, we'll help them put a local community tournament, and get the unique experience of taking part in a ragball making session! We'll finish our time with Ascent with a final dinner, and say goodbye . to our new friends.
Days 10-11: Trip End
On the last day of the trip we'll depart Lilongwe and begin our trip home, arriving back at O'Hare the following morning, where students will be picked up by parents and guardians.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the weather like in Malawi?
We visit Malawi at the best time of year, when the rains have stopped and the weather is not too hot. Daytime temperatures hover around 70-80°F and drop at night, dipping into the 40-50°F range.
How often will my child have access to showers and laundry?
We will have access to showers every day. All accommodations offer hot showers, however, as is the nature of traveling in a country with less developed infrastructure, there’s always a chance of an occasional cold shower. Over the course of the 19 days, we will do laundry collectively as a group 2-3 times. We encourage students to wear things more than once before washing to cut down on packing and keep laundry efficient.
For answers to more frequently asked questions, please visit our FAQ's page.
International travel requires a sense of adventure, as well as prior planning and preparation. You must have a valid passport. No prior visa is required for Malawi, as we will acquire visas at the airport upon arrival. Woza Soccer strongly recommends families of students traveling abroad consult their child’s doctor and visit a travel clinic well before the start of the program to discuss options for travel-related vaccinations and medications. Woza Soccer is not a medical authority and cannot directly advise students and parents regarding travel-related medications or vaccinations. As a result, Woza Soccer does not require students to obtain specific travel-related medications or vaccinations. Typically, travel to Malawi involves having up-to-date vaccines and anti-malarial medication. Again, we recommend consulting with the CDC and your child’s doctor. Once you have completed registration for a Woza trip, you will receive additional instructions from our office regarding international travel.
The Woza Experience
Woza Soccer trips are adventures full of soccer and cross-cultural connections while bonding with a new group of people and learning about the work of an inspiring local soccer partner. To provide the best immersion and group bonding experience possible, we ask that students leave their cell phones and other electronics at home (though cameras are more than welcome).
All Woza trips involve the rewarding challenge of visiting a new country and meeting new people while immersed in a different culture. Some days will be more challenging than others. We ask you to come prepared with a flexible mindset and positive attitude so if changes do occur beyond the control of you, your group, or your leaders (ex: weather, itinerary changes, or delayed travel) you can continue to contribute to an enthusiastic group, and help create a successful trip experience.