Chris was born in Seattle, WA and graduated from Yale University in 2009. From 2009-2010 he moved to South Africa and worked for GrassrootSoccer, an NGO that fights HIV/AIDS using the power of soccer, as a field organizer operating soccer-based health initiatives in rural villages of the KwaZulu-Natal province. He returned to the US and served three years on the faculty of the Noble and Greenough School outside of Boston, MA teaching African, Asian and Middle Eastern history and coaching in the school's world-famous JV girls soccer program.
As much as he loves the classroom he has always been an explorer and a trip leader at heart. For the last ten years he has been taking groups of teenagers and young adults on educational adventure trips around the world - to British Columbia (2004), Belize (2004), Fiji (2005), the British Virgin Islands (2006), Nova Scotia (2007), Ghana (2008), South Africa (2011, 2013), India (2012), and Tanzania (2013). In the summer of 2011 Chris led ten teens on an unsupported cross-country bicycle trip from Savannah, GA to Los Angeles, CA. He is a lifelong soccer player and, more recently, coach who in 2012 was awarded his National Diploma coaching credential from the NSCAA.
There is nothing he loves more than being out on fields, roads or global travels with a group of kids that are learning something.
Sheldon "Shellies" Hughes
Sheldon was born and raised in the small towns of South Africa's sugar cane-covered Zululand region. During Apartheid, South Africa's period of government-sponsored segregation and discrimination, Sheldon had a successful professional soccer career in the country's segregated National Professional Soccer League. After moving to the small town of Mtubatuba and working for years as an electrician, Sheldon founded the Mtuba Football Academy (MFA) in 2004 to provide quality soccer-playing opportunities and life skills support to the area's disadvantaged youth.
Since then he has served as MFA's Director of Coaching, but has also worked for FIFA during the 2010 World Cup and as a programs coach and talent scout for Everton FC's (of the English Premier League) Southern Africa operations team. Sheldon is fluent in English, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, and imaginative phrases of disappointment when his beloved Arsenal FC are losing. He is a father of three children, all of whom play for the academy. And he cooks a mean Cape Malay Curry.
For more on Sheldon's vision for the Mtuba Football Academy, see our Building One Field Project page.