love.futbol Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of its 8th Soccer Field in San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala
Soccer Field Project Shows Community Progress and Provides a Safe Playing Area for Local Children
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, love.futbol celebrates the one-year anniversary of its 8th field in San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala. Since its launch, the field has transformed the community and its youth and spurred neighborhood initiatives to improve surrounding areas.
love.futbol CEO Drew Chafetz believes the San Antonio Palopo field is a success story and model for future projects. “As a result of the love.futbol field, at-risk, soccer-passionate youth are playing more soccer in safe conditions,” said Chafetz. “After tragedy struck only a couple years ago, it’s been inspiring to observe the community unite around soccer and drive further development.”
Prior to the love.futbol field, San Antonio Palopo suffered major mudslides due to tropical storm Agatha, killing seventeen townspeople and destroying their homes. The site where the love.futbol field is currently located housed makeshift shelters for victims of the landslide. The space is now the center of the town and a hub of community activity.
love.futbol‘s community development and soccer field initiatives have secured safe spaces for thousands of children to play soccer while catalyzing community growth. In San Antonio Palopo, community leaders report greater classroom attendance, stronger academic performance, reduced drug use among community youth and a greater motivation and interest in soccer and sports. School Principal Odilio Rodas reports that the community is “stronger and more united” after the project. San Antonio Palopo now hosts a number of soccer events in the region and is benefitting economically from the increased activity.
The non-profit organization mobilizes communities in Latin America to spearhead soccer field building projects in order to create safe playing spaces for children. After five years in existence, the recently inaugurated ninth field, located in Cantzela, Guatemala, marks the end of love.futbol’s first phase of development. love.futbol’s leadership aspires to build twenty more fields by the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Youth throughout the world face great challenges when trying to play soccer. Children run barefoot in trash dumps, chase balls through sewage and dodge rushing cars in streets. love.futbol’s model empowers local communities, giving them the tools they need to build and maintain a field so children have safe, quality soccer fields. love.futbol’s unique community organizing approach allows for local leaders to manage soccer field projects alongside community members. love.futbol provides communities with construction guidance and finances the construction materials for the field building.