FIFA confirmed the launching of the program Football for Schools in Costa Rica. The soccer-loving nation will now have a tool to promote social development in different schools around the country.
The inauguration ceremony was held on August 12 at Estadio Municipal in Tibas. FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura, Football for Schools program director Fatimata Sidibe, and Costa Rican football legends Shirley Cruz and Paulo Wanchope were present at the event.
“We started this program three years ago, but due to the pandemic, we were unable to launch it in additional countries,” said Samoura. “Now, with the help of Fatimata Sidibe, who has worked for the United Nations for over 25 years, we think the project can reach another level.”
To ensure the project’s success, 29 educators received training in a two-day workshop run by FIFA instructors. These teachers will be responsible for transmitting the methodology to all regions of Costa Rica.
The Costa Rican Football Federation, represented by its president, Rodolfo Villalobos, and the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education, represented by the Minister of Education, Katharina Muller Castro, signed an agreement that will allow the program to reach all schools and benefit children.
“I would like to thank you, not only on behalf of our football community but also the country, for allowing us to be part of this project. I’ve always said that football is about more than just results and what happens out on the pitch. Today everyone – the Ministry of Education, FIFA, and the Federation – has joined forces to reflect on the fact that, while we need good footballers, we also need good and healthy citizens,” said Rodolfo Villalobos, President of the Costa Rican Soccer Federation.
Launching this program while Costa Rica hosts the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2022 is certainly special.
“This program is very interesting because it enables us to see football from another perspective. We have to teach values to kids, something that had fallen by the wayside a little: sometimes we heap too much stress on their shoulders so that they can turn professional, but football is a tool that can help them prepare to deal with life in a different way,” pointed out Shirley Cruz.
Soccer is an agent of change, capable of transforming lives, promoting discipline and effort, and also being a space for fun and recreation. For a soccer-loving nation, this program is extraordinary, as it connects well with people of all ages.