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Sifup, the professional footballers’ association of Chile, organized its first Sifup Football Day: el Dia del Fútbol. A day especially organized for children from disadvantaged homes. 

 

Sifup set up a tournament for 300 children of Coanil, an organization working with children coming from poor families and/or living in deprived neighborhoods or orphanages. Current and former footballers and coaches assisted in the event. 

 

For example former Chilean national team players Esteban Valencia and Pedro González held a special training session with María Teresa Villalón, a 17-year old girl in a wheelchair who plays as goalkeeper. Players of Palestino and Union Española visited the tournament and shared some moments with the children.

 

‘The idea behind this is to integrate football into the community through an organization like Coanil’, explained Carlos Soto, Sifup president. ‘Every year we hope to organize activities such as this one. Without these activities, children like these will hardly have the possibility to be in contact with a footballer.’

 

Felipe Núñez, goalkeeper of Palestino, added: ‘These things mean a lot to a player. I have always wanted to be as close as possible to children with health problems or living under difficult social circumstances. For them these meetings can be very important. I am a father of two myself, and when I see children who for various reasons haven’t come into this world the same way as for example my own kids, then I always feel a special kind of affection for them.'

 

‘I am very happy to contribute to an event like this’, said Sebastián Jaime, Unión Española forward. ‘It would be good to have these activities more often: all players are enthusiastic to accompany the kids an share time with them, because they see the joy it brings to those children.’

 

 

 

Pedro González, María Teresa Villalón and Esteban Valencia

 

 

 

 

 

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