A World Cup Champion with the Brazilian National Team in 2002 and a European Champion with FC Barcelona in 2006, Edmílson Moraes could easily content himself with looking back on a successful career.
But he’s looking back even further to his childhood in Brazil and is working to share the benefits of his success there. With support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the Barça Foundation, the Edmílson Foundation will give kids in underserved areas of Edmílson’s native Brazil high quality places to play.
The project is beginning with a site with special significance to Edmílson: the field in Taquaritinga where he played soccer when he was little. The Edmílson Foundation recently announced that they’ve broken ground on the new FIFA-certified synthetic turf soccer field that will replace it. Completion of the project is expected within four months.
“To me it’s a dream come true,” said the soccer star. He hopes that the field and the Edmílson Foundation’s premises will become a resource for the whole Taquaritinga community.
The Edmílson Foundation project supported by SNF also seeks to eventually provide safe and dignified environments for children ages six to eighteen to play in Sumaré, Capicuíba, Betânia, and São Paulo. The renovation of the football field will make possible the rollout of a 16-month social sports project for children and teenagers from the nearby regions of Taquaritinga, designed to help overcome social exclusion. In addition, rentals of the facility will help the Edmílson Foundation generate the necessary income to sustainably continue this program.
Edmílson spent part of his career playing with FC Barcelona. In its effort to promote positive change in the lives of children through the game of soccer, this project by the Edmílson Foundation closely parallels the Barça Foundation’s innovative FutbolNet program.
FutbolNet uses the game of soccer and other sport activities to give young people a chance to exercise agency, take responsibility, include others, and collectively reflect on all of it. With support from SNF, the program has expanded to serve populations in Greece, Lebanon, and Italy with the aim of bringing together refugee and local children on the playing field.
In 2017, Edmílson, along with other players from the Barça Players’ Association, visited the island of Lesbos and the Kara Tepe refugee camp to take part in a FutbolNet sports clinic for 250 refugee and local children. Edmílson was also among the speakers at the July 2018 installment of SNF’s monthly DIALOGUES series, titled “Football will save the world.”