After five years of success in Turin, the Gioca con Me programme is set to be rolled out across five territories abroad, ensuring that the Bianconeri club’s community reach extends far beyond the walls of their home city.
Central to Juventus’ continued efforts towards fighting discrimination and fostering integration, this project represents just one part of the fruitful collaboration with UNESCO – a world leader in championing the values of culture and sports as a vehicle to achieve peace – sealed officially on 29 May 2014, when Andrea Agnelli and Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director–General, signed an ambitious and pioneering Partnership Agreement.
From September 2016, onwards throughout the remainder of the current season, Gioca con Me is set to be launched in five other J|Academy sites around the world. Specifically in Tunis – Tunisia, Beirut- Lebanon,
Lima – Peru, Guatemala City – Guatemala and Bogotá – Colombia, allowing more children than ever before to learn the Juventus way.
Gioca con Me enables a total of 60 youngsters, 12 per each location, between the ages of five and nine to train with Juventus Academies in their countries, completely free of charge. The project – which has been running in Turin since 2012 – aims to make it easier for young people, selected by their host institutions on the basis of good behaviour and results in the classroom, belonging to the more disadvantaged social classes to be able to practice sport. The project aims also to use football as a catalyst to promote a culture of respect, tolerance and social awareness.
Thanks to the strong commitment both of the Juventus Academies and of the UNESCO local offices, and the involvement of local schools, participating children to the Gioca con Me scheme will receive the best possible education in the values of sport both on and off the field, all while being fully integrated alongside the other participants.
This move marks the latest demonstration of Juventus’ commitment to combining sports with education – as a way to help each single child grow as people and not just footballers – and encouraging greater integration at the heart of the game.
As with Gioca con Me, the projects undertaken by the club have clear underlying values such as respect for teamwork, spirit of sacrifice and education. An educated child who is encouraged to behave responsibly in the future will become an adult who is ready to enter the world of work and interact well in society.
Juventus’ commitment alongside UNESCO to further integration at the heart of the game and educating the next generation of young footballers has been reinforced by the introduction of a “Soft Skills Manual”, which aims at offering the best possible education both on and off the pitch.
The Manual, which refers to the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport is being distributed to all J|Academy head coaches across the world and provides essential guidelines on how to offer a complete educational approach which places great attention on fostering cognitive abilities considered fundamental for the youngsters’ development.
The coaches themselves, in fact, have the crucial role of ensuring the physical and psychological wellbeing of the children who participate in the J|Academy programme. To this end, the Manual contains a series of techniques – including conversation methods, best practices and specific training ideas – aimed at helping the coaches provide the youngsters with the best support possible.
After all, football is not only passion and entertainment but also respect, integration, teamwork and friendship.