Friday, November 25, 2016

Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience - uniting youngsters by their passion for sports

cover story

Pakistan may not have a significant presence in the world of football but there is certainly no shortage of soccer fans in our country. Ardent football enthusiasts cheer for their favourite international and league teams, while youngsters passionate about the game participate in matches that are held at their schools and colleges, yearning for more opportunities to pursue the sport.
Certified trainers and coaches from the Real Madrid Foundation - which is a subsidiary of world renowned Spanish football club Real Madrid - are planning to travel to Pakistan to launch their Campus Experience. This initiative has become an international and multicultural meeting point that more than 3,000 children from 80 countries have experienced together in 2015.

In an interview with Us Magazine, the Director of the Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience, Joaquín Sagués, talks about this initiative and what the programme hopes to achieve.

Us: Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Joaquín Sagués:
I have over 30 years [experience] leading teams in the areas of corporate events, logistics, and services sector. Since January 2010, I have been the world CEO of Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience. [I am in charge of] the direction of the team, [defining the] strategy of growth and economic control.

Us: Please tell us about the Real Madrid Foundation and its goals.
Real Madrid Foundation is the means by which Real Madrid presents itself effectively in society and develops its goals of human and cultural nature. The Foundation nurtures, in Spain and abroad, intrinsic sport values and promotes them as an educational tool, contributing to the overall development of the personality of those who practice in sports, while also serving as a factor of social integration, benefiting those who suffer any kind of exclusion, as well as disseminating all cultural aspects related to sports. Campus Experience is one of the projects developed by Real Madrid Foundation within its programme of activities.

Us: What are the aims and objective of the Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience football camps?
Campus Experience combines sports training with a value-based education seamlessly, so that values are not only worked in the field but in other activities where children are involved to reinforce the educational aspects, creating a unique model worldwide. Besides the sport training, we encourage participants to foster friendships by interacting with children from other countries and to become familiar with other cultures.
Participants are united by their passion for Real Madrid and sports. Concepts such as leadership, self-control, teamwork, effort, and respect are the basis of all activities and games organised at the campus. Top-notch professionals involved at Campus Experience including monitors, professional coaches and passionate teachers work during school holidays to provide attendees the best possible experience.
But Campus Experience is not only football and fun. One of our main goals is to help children realise how important diet and hygiene are for an athlete. We are committed to teaching children a proper nutritional regime adapted for youngsters who practice soccer frequently. Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience has professionals in the field of nutrition that develop a comprehensive, balanced and personalised menu to deal with the physical qualities of participants so that they acquire the essential nutrients to practice sports. The other habits we encourage among our young participants at Campus Experience is for them to take care of their personal hygiene as we believe it is essential for the education of players. Our objective is to instil habits that impact their health and relationships in a positive way.

Us: When and why was the project initiated, and what has it achieved so far?
We started the organisation seven years ago. Now, it is the strongest sports and educational project in the world. Since 2009, we have trained more than 30,000 children all around the world, and we have developed Campus Experiences in more than 74 cities.
For us, it is really important to work with a strong partnership in every country we are. We have been working with QSports for three years now, developing Campus Experience in Qatar.
QSports is a company from Qatar, but with strong basis in Pakistan. They proposed that we come to this wonderful country, and after evaluating the possibilities we agree with them that it is a really good option.

Us: What activities are part of Campus Experience? What can youngsters expect from the camp?
We want our participants to live for a week as Real Madrid players do on a daily basis. Usually, people just see Real Madrid players during the games, but they don’t know what they do on a Tuesday morning or a Thursday afternoon. Our programme is designed to submerge our participants into Real Madrid players’ way of life, teaching them how to eat properly, how to stretch their muscles, or how to rest enough in order to have energy for the next day’s activities.
Campus Experience combines two parts: football training and fun activities based in Real Madrid values.
The training and the football technical aspects of Campus Experience are taught by coaches who come from soccer schools from the Real Madrid Foundation led by Rafael García Cortés, a former player of the first team of Real Madrid and the current Sports Director of Campus Experience. The coaches are in charge of channelling a value-based education through sports practice, with exercises in the playing field. These sets of professionals, mostly coaches from Real Madrid Foundation Football Schools, are qualified professionals with a national coach card (from INEF graduates to physical education instructors). Our coaches are trained to know how to work with the values from Real Madrid and how to convey them to children so that they can have fun while learning and working their sports techniques.
The other very important part of Campus Experience is given by our team of monitors (most of whom are teachers and psychologists) whose preparation allows them to apply the expanded education system characteristic of Campus Experience. Their purpose is to apply dynamic and educational content to the timeframes not scheduled for sports on campus. This content should be interesting to all participants through a playful approach in a number of social and solidarity values, relating them to attitudes and skills associated to sports.

Us: Why are the applicants being chosen on a first come first serve basis instead of athletic abilities and merit?
Our goal with this project is to educate and teach our participants the essence, the base of football. We don’t do scouting – we want to teach the essence of the sport to every boy and girl equally.

Us: Can you tell us which trainers and coaches visit the countries where Campus Experience has been launched? Do Real Madrid players join them?
Real Madrid Foundation coaches - professional coaches working in Real Madrid city all year long - form our coach team. They are graduated in sport science, with at least level 1 coach title, and with a lot of experience training children.

Us: How has your experience as the director of the Real Madrid Foundation Campus Experience been so far?
It is really gratifying to work on this project, educating and teaching boys and girls from all over the world. It also allows me to learn a lot about the cultures and languages, and discover new countries, which is priceless.

Us: As far as football is concerned, Pakistan doesn’t have a significant presence on the world stage. Why, in your opinion, has the country struggled in this sport?
They have asked me a similar question when I’ve been to the United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Panama, where the main sport used to be baseball but football is the number one nowadays.
In Pakistan, as in many Asian countries, the main sport was cricket, and now football is getting [more popular]. It is just a matter of time [before] Pakistan evolves and improves its football level.

Us: What can be done to improve football in Pakistan?
The main key is to teach and educate boys and girls since they are young. This is a long term project and it is important to start from the base.

Us: Are there any other projects that the Real Madrid Foundation is working on? Can we expect anything from you guys in Pakistan anytime soon?
Among Real Madrid Foundation programmes, you can find Campus Experience and Social Schools for boys and girls at risk of social exclusion. Our job is Campus Experience, and we hope to do a lot of them in Pakistan in the future.

The Real Madrid values

Joaquín Sagués tells Us about the "Real Madrid values":

All children want to be like their idols, but to be an elite footballer not only implies hard sports training, but one must also take into account a series of values that characterize and define the white club. Through a comprehensive program of educational activities, the Campus Experience of the Real Madrid foundation promotes human development through integral values associated with the merengue team. The participants will train with the five main values of Real Madrid: leadership, effort, self-control, teamwork, and respect.

1.    Leadership: Through examples such as that of Cristiano Ronaldo, participants will learn that in order to exercise leadership one does not need to be the captain of the team, but needs to know how to detect the moments where that role should be adopted, encouraging colleagues and taking strategic decisions, thinking about what is best for the team.

2.    Effort: Taking Sergio Ramos as an example – who plays every game as if it was his last and establishes that same attitude to the rest of the team – they will learn the value of effort.

3.    Self-control: Through the ability of self-control from players like Bale, the standard when it comes to the domain of emotions in pressure situations, monitors will explain to attendees that it is important not to lose self-confidence despite criticism or a bad result on the field. In addition, they will learn how to celebrate goals and accept those marked by the opposing team, where humility must always prevail.

4.    Teamwork: Toni Kross is a reference of teamwork at Real Madrid, controlling the game from the centre of the field not only at the tactical and technical level, but looking for communication and understanding with his peers to achieve common objectives, even in moments of weakness.

5.    Respect: Finally, through the game of James, participants will work towards respect for others. Sportsmanship is one of the signs of identity, and he proves it with peers, opponents, and referees. He also approaches criticisms with education and respect, learning from them, always showing humility and respect for the efforts of others.

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 25th November, 2016 *

No comments: