Real Madrid opens soccer schools in Bolivia

La Paz, Sep 26: Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid has opened soccer schools in Bolivia, with former star player Emilio Butragueno on hand for the event in the capital here.

Xinhua reported that the schools will be located in La Paz and two other cities of El Alto and Santa Cruz.

The schools will be operational from October 8 and expect to benefit at least 1,200 children in the age group of six to 17.

Butragueno said Tuesday he was pleased with the warm welcome from Bolivians and added the schools were the best way to return all the love and support received from fans.

“One must strive so that children and youngsters develop a range of habits that will be useful to them throughout their lives,” he said, adding “through soccer playing, we instill values.”

Butragueno, Real Madrid’s Director of International Relations, was the guest of honour at the signing of the agreements between the Real Madrid Foundation, the team’s social outreach organisation, and the Bolivian operators of the project, the Gol and Alalay foundations.

The Bolivian foundations are sponsored by the city governments of La Paz, El Alto and Santa Cruz, as well as several private companies associated with the project.

The goal of the soccer schools is not to scout for talent, but to engender good habits and a passion for sports among young people.

Spain’s Oscar Mesanza, who will lead the project for a year, said once the schools begin functioning, soccer will serve to complement an integral program that involves the input of psychologists, social workers and coaches.