Childhood dreams on offer for FIFA U-20 World Cup

10 March 2015

Being the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar or Lionel Messi is the stuff of childhood dreams. Telling your mates that you met the next global football superstar could be a reality for any young kiwi football fan.

Kids play Futsal with The Phoenix

Futsal Festival – school kids play with the Futsal Whites in Civic Square

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That opportunity is within the grasp of every primary school child in New Zealand when the FIFA U-20 World Cup comes to town from 30 May to 20 June this year.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) is offering player escort positions to all primary school age children through FIFA’s new sports based education programme which was launched today.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says youth participation is one of the reasons Council are such proud supporters of this tournament. “Latest figures show there were almost 800 junior teams participating in the beautiful game with more than 6500 junior players in the Wellington region. This Education Programme will be a great way to harness this growing enthusiasm to contribute to the legacy of the New Zealand FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015.”

With 24 nations from almost every continent qualifying for New Zealand 2015, students will learn about countries as diverse as Myanmar, Panama and Uzbekistan, the footballing hotbeds of Brazil, Argentina and Germany through to more traditional partners like the USA and Fiji.

LOC Chief Executive Dave Beeche said the learning tool should prove interesting for children, combining the obvious educational benefits with a sporting theme and then also giving them the chance to be part of the action when the tournament kicks off.

“What better way to learn about the world and the people in it than by educating students through the world’s most popular sport.

“In addition to providing a great curriculum-based learning experience, all schools which download the FIFA U-20 World Cup Education Programme will give their pupils the opportunity to escort a player out onto the field prior to a match. The FIFA U-20 World Cup has been the launching pad to outstanding careers for some of the biggest names in the sport and New Zealand kids will get to meet these future stars before they become famous,” said Mr Beeche.

Schools can download the material. 

The tournament will run from 30 May – 20 June across seven New Zealand cities. Only the four African qualifiers have yet to be determined and this will be done at a tournament in Senegal later this month.