At an event hosted by UNICEF and FC Barcelona, a group of students in Los Angeles met with players Andrés Iniesta and Marc-André Ter Stegen to discuss the critical role that sports play in children’s lives and development around the world.
FC Barcelona players Iniesta and Ter Stegen had the opportunity to share their opinions and experiences with the young attendees. When asked by a girl in the audience what the UNICEF logo on the FC Barcelona jersey means to the players, Iniesta responded: “For us as individuals, and as a club, it’s an honor to wear the jersey because of the values that UNICEF represents. Alongside UNICEF, we want to reinforce the importance of providing the most vulnerable children with access to education. Especially as parents, we are aware that children are the most precious things in our lives. It’s difficult knowing that there are children in other countries who don’t have the same opportunities.”
Ter Stegen underscored the importance of studying to achieve one’s dreams: “I had a lot of coaches and each of them advised me how to reach my goals. But it’s not enough to have coaches or just to play soccer. Education has been really important for me.”
U.S. Fund for UNICEF Regional Managing Director Amber Hill said: “All children have the right to learn. The focus of the FC Barcelona and UNICEF partnership is creating a world inspired by the power of quality education, where sports and play are key elements in the development of all children.”
“The UNICEF projects that we support are based on strengthening children’s education through the integration of play and sports in countries such as Brazil, Ghana, China and South Africa. Through these programs, more than 300,000 children are being reached,” said Albert Soler, Director of Professional Sports of FC Barcelona.
UNICEF and FC Barcelona kicked off a partnership in 2006 to raise awareness and funds benefiting millions of children. FC Barcelona supports UNICEF programs that integrate sports and play into education as catalysts to unlock a child’s potential.