La Paz – Spanish soccer powerhouse, Real Madrid opened the first of six soccer schools it plans on opening in Bolivia.
Former star player, Emilio Butragueno was on hand for the event in the capital La Paz, local press said on Tuesday.
The schools, located in La Paz and two other cities, El Alto and Santa Cruz, will officially begin operating on Oct. 8.
The schools were expected to benefit at least 1,200 children and youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17, said Butragueno.
Butragueno said he was pleased with the warm welcome from Bolivians and added the schools were the best way to return all the love and support received from fans.
“One must strive so that children and youngsters develop a range of habits that will be useful to them throughout their lives,” he said, adding “through soccer playing, we instill values.”
Butragueno, Real Madrid’s Director of International Relations, was the guest of honor at the signing of the agreements between the Real Madrid Foundation, the team’s social outreach organisation and the Bolivian operators of the project, the Gol and Alalay foundations.
The Bolivian foundations were sponsored by the city governments of La Paz, El Alto and Santa Cruz, as well as several private companies associated with the project.
The goal of the soccer schools is not to scout for talent, but to engender good habits and a passion for sports among young people.
Spain’s Oscar Mesanza, who will lead the project for a year, said once the schools begin functioning, soccer will serve to complement an integral programme that involves the input of psychologists, social workers and coaches. (Xinhua/NAN)