Nike: The Evolution of SHAPA Soweto Training Center

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Milton S. Rodgers

In November, Soweto will reopen the doors of Nike’s SHAPA Soweto, where young athletes will find an expanded playing field to nurture creative talent, connect with the community, and experience the joy of sport – dancing, running, soccer, skateboarding and more. Again.

How it started

Nike invests in the game because an active generation means a healthier and fairer future for all. And young people need certain things to experience the game. They need caring, trained adults who are committed to empowering them. They need the right equipment to be able to play with confidence. Most importantly, they need the opportunity to play, and that includes having access to safe and inclusive spaces in the local community.

SHAPA Soweto was unveiled in the summer of 2010 as one such gaming community. It began as a world-class football training center serving the next generation of footballers in Soweto, a township in Africa. from South. The approach was simple: organize high-end football clinics to inspire young people through sport and, along the way, teach them important life skills in the form of HIV / AIDS education. The facility’s unique mix of public and private partnerships helped shape a premier training ground for more than 20,000 young footballers, launched on the eve of this summer’s flagship football tournament in Johannesburg.

How it evolved

Nike’s investment in South Africa is nothing new. For decades, the company has been committed to breaking down barriers to sport in South Africa and using sport as an educational tool. With partnerships like Grassroots Soccer and Sport for Social Change, Nike has a long-standing shared relationship with the country, based on helping communities thrive.

That’s why a relaunch of SHAPA Soweto was a natural next step, especially when football events like the Soweto Derby reflect a fan culture that has flourished since the inaugural world tournament in 2010.

Opened in 2010, Shapa Soweto was part of Nike’s ongoing commitment to creating more equal, inclusive and active communities. When the center reopens, Nike hopes to help young people in Soweto unlock their full potential and continue to invest in the region.

Relaunched in November 2021, the updated SHAPA Soweto is still a football hub and now also includes dedicated areas for basketball, running, training, dancing, judo and skateboarding. We know that communities improve when young people have the creative freedom to explore the activities that affect them, in sport and in life. This is the intention behind the renovated center: To create a place where young people can find sports that match their interests.

The original vision of facilitating local partnerships also broadened with the reopening. As part of Nike Made to Play’s commitment to getting kids active, SHAPA will bring the Active Afterschools program to more than 300 children in a range of sports, such as soccer and running. Masai AC, an athletics club founded by middle distance runner Caster Semenya, will also have a dedicated training space at SHAPA Soweto, building on Semenya’s vision to make running and education more accessible to disadvantaged young people. Other partners include Tarryn “TNT” Alberts for dance, Banesa for yoga and Girls Skate South Africa.

“Before SHAPA, we knew we could help young people in the region access sport, but we didn’t have the right infrastructure. No place to train was the main obstacle we faced. SHAPA was what we needed, ”says Semenya, speaking of her own experience growing up. “Now that it’s back, young people will be able to surround themselves with the right people and the right structure to explore different sports.”

Consider plenty of open workspaces, a creative studio, and a community garden, and young people will find a versatile and nurturing place to build relationships, pursue goals, and fuel a new future.

One piece of SHAPA Soweto’s identity that remains from its original version is its magnificent football fields. Two full-size sites and two 5-person sites surround the main building.

As part of SHAPA’s vision to expand access to new sports, the facility includes a 300-meter running track, basketball court, and skate park (pictured here).

Nike has partnered with local artists to design custom artwork and installations throughout the facility.


Nike Inc. published this content on November 18, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on November 18, 2021 09:11:00 AM UTC.

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