Youth League players contribute to social projects

Players have been making a difference in their communities as part of the UEFA Youth League's social projects programme.

PAOK players worked with the International Organization for Migration
PAOK players worked with the International Organization for Migration ©UEFA.com

One of the ongoing goals of the UEFA Youth League is to develop players on and off the pitch. As part of this educational process, UEFA encourages teams participating in the Under-19 club competition to adopt a local solidarity project, offering funding to support these initiatives.

Already several clubs have been playing their part to better the lives of those around them.

Real Madrid at the Fundación Padre Garralda Horizontes Abiertos
Real Madrid at the Fundación Padre Garralda Horizontes Abiertos

Real Madrid's U19s pulled on their boots to visit the Fundación Padre Garralda Horizontes Abiertos, a rehabilitation centre for people who are homeless or battling drug problems. After helping with gardening and landscaping the grounds, they joined together to play a friendly match against the residents.

As the video above shows, Real Madrid then turned hosts, inviting their opponents to the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium to watch their UEFA Youth League game against Galatasaray.

Atalanta present a cheque to Amici Della Pediatria Onlus
Atalanta present a cheque to Amici Della Pediatria Onlus©UEFA.com

Solidarity
Plenty of other clubs have also completed similar activities ahead of Matchday 5, which begins on Tuesday 26 November.

Atalanta's academy players visited the Amici Della Pediatria Onlus, a non-profit association based at the paediatrics department of Bergamo's San Giovanni XXIII hospital, presenting officials with a cheque for €20,500 towards the facility before touring the hospital and meeting young patients.

Shakhtar players at the Let's Play project
Shakhtar players at the Let's Play project©UEFA.com

In Ukraine, Shakhtar Donetsk visited the Come On, Let's Play! project, a children's grassroots football scheme which, among other activities, aids children with special needs. The players joined in a training session with youngsters, as well as donating training materials to help the project's future development.

Young Boys man their charity stall
Young Boys man their charity stall©UEFA.com

The Young Boys U19s are joining their senior team this festive period to sell different gift items in local shopping centres. Funds raised from the sale of these toys and footballs will go towards the Arche-Fonds charity, which provides holidays and breaks for the families of children suffering from cancer.

Elsewhere, players from Ajax's famous academy visited a local centre for disabled people, Real Zaragoza met with cystic fibrosis sufferers and Zrinjski Mostar players helped out with football coaching sessions at a nearby academy.

In Greece, PAOK's youth team worked with the International Organization for Migration, treating children to football matches and gifts, while in Cyprus, APOEL supported a charity organisation for people suffering with dementia.

How UEFA is preparing young players for a football career
In addition to ensuring young players are supporting local community projects, the Youth League also offers educational classes to help players develop their careers on and off the pitch. Sessions are laid on for clubs, focusing on specific aspects of education and development.

Moreover, players are introduced to the UEFA For Players app, which gives advice on handling a professional career in the game and beyond, covering a range of important issues such as integrity, anti-doping, finances and social fair play.

The app was developed with guidance and advice from former international players, and is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian and Spanish, with Greek, Polish and Turkish to be added during the course of this season.

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