What: ESPN has built and dedicated a multifunctional sports space in Xochimilco, Mexico.
Why it matters: This home to programs that teach young people employability skills through sports is an example of how sports and soccer can change the world, with the help of corporate partners.
Sports in general, and soccer in particular, as a catalyst for good across the globe is not a new concept. For years, organizations like Laureus (@LaureusSport), openingboundaries (@OB_0fficial) and many others have found ways to use sport to benefit youth in tangible ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as having equipment and safe places to play that can change lives.
In that spirit, ESPN (@espn), which has a strong presence in Latin America (@ESPNmx) and among Spanish speakers in the U.S., teamed with community leaders in Xochimilco, Mexico City, earlier this month to launch the construction of a new sports court as part of its global project, which includes six such multifunctional units across Latin America and one in India.
The Xochimilco safe space is an opportunity for young people to use sport to find their way in life and also to provide training for future employment.
The goal, per community leaders and ESPN personnel, is to help youngsters by using the refurbished court to hold job skills and other programs via A Ganar (@A_Ganar), a Latin American and Caribbean based organization which has targeted 16-24 year olds in fighting the problems of youth unemployment in nearly 20 countries for more than a decade.
“At ESPN we believe that sport has the ability to transform lives, and we are committed to providing resources to enable kids in Mexico City to play sports,” said Russell Wolff, executive vice president and managing director, ESPN International, in a statement. “This is our second safe space in Mexico City and we are pleased to collaborate with love.fútbol, A Ganar, Beyond Sport, and Street Soccer Mexico once again to build this court in a community where there is a need, as it can truly make a difference.”
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“As with our first build together in Chimalhuacán, our goal is to improve the quality of life of marginalized youth and vulnerable communities in Mexico. The Xochimilco safe space is an opportunity for young people to use sport to find their way in life and also to provide training for future employment,” added Daniel Copto, CEO and President, Street Soccer México.
Programs like this are vital, especially on a continuing basis. Empowering local residents to continue the push is key. The Xochimilco launch event, hosted by ESPN broadcasters Miroslava Montemayor and Sergio Dipp, brought the community together for a celebration, with the Santiaguito location chosen based largely on need, in conjunction with community facility specialist love.fútbol.
ESPN had previously announced a similar space in Bogota, Colombia, in April , following previous ESPN safe space initiatives in Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil.
Cover Image via beyondsport.org