Photo Credit: Star Wright
Meet The Black Female Partner Of Africa's First Sports Academy
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Star Wright is a co-founder of Africa’s first sports academy. The 38-year-old was born and raised in Philadelphia, and is the mother of two teenage children. An athlete most of her life, Star was a competitive swimmer for 15 years. She also ran track and played basketball throughout high school and college.
In 2009, Star began playing tackle football as a part of the local women’s team. She also won a gold medal playing on the United States National team in the 2017 International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship. However, after five years of playing, she was in a horrific car accident and didn’t think she was ever going to be able to play football again.
“I had to find a way to stay close to the sport,” she told Travel Noire. “The Philadelphia women’s team that was in existence was folding, so I decided to pick up where they left off. That’s how the Philadelphia Phantomz professional women’s full tackle football team was born.”
It’s no secret that Star is passionate about football. One of the things she loves about it is that it’s a non-discriminatory sport. People of all shapes and sizes can participate. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of the game and giving women the opportunity to play a sport that has always been deemed a man’s sport.
In 2019, Star founded the Star Wright Foundation, a human rights socio-economic non-profit organization that offers opportunities to people in Africa, entrepreneurship to minority youth, legal rights education to adolescents, and community engagement to minimize crime rates and poverty.
As one of the foundation’s first ventures, Star visited Ghana, where she held football camps for children. In addition to leaving them with new skills and a love for a new sport, Star and her foundation left behind footballs and other sports equipment, as well as shoes for the children of the village.
Next, the foundation visited Zambia, where Star once again held camps, this time bringing 500 composition notebooks for local school children.
The Star Wright Foundation also raised money for equipment and shoulder pads for Moroccan women who wanted to play football. She held camps in Morocco and Egypt, teaching women the game and various techniques. And while teaching them, Star also learned a great deal about their lifestyles and cultures.
One of the most evident similarities between female footballers in Africa and the United States is the lack of recognition, funding, and support. Through her foundation and brand new academy, Star is working to change that.
“We have four initiatives, but we are currently focused on Access To Play, a program that provides access to American football with a primary focus on the continent of Africa.”
In launching Africa’s first sports academy, the Star Wright Foundation partnered up with an organization called We Can Morocco to provide educational resources through football and other sports.
“Our Academy relies on an innovative approach based on education through sports to support young women from disadvantaged backgrounds and will provide opportunities, especially to the youth, to unleash their potential and encourage them to positively affect their communities.”
“The Academy will officially launch in August. It will also have a main educational focus on STEM, and we will offer language lessons and life skills through American football. Although we are beginning with football, we will be adding other sports soon.”
In the coming months The Star Wright Foundation and We Can Morocco will be taking the Academy on an international tour during which different camps will be held to expose African communities to American football.