The COVID-19 pandemic has become a worldwide phenomenon which has affected the majority of the planet. For the last few weeks, authorities in a number of countries have taken exceptional steps to fight the virus, which has seen the majority of people at home in lockdown and has stopped sporting activity. Faced with this exceptional situation, Villarreal CF's international academies have adapted quickly to offer their support to families around the world who are part of the Yellows family, changing completely the way the club has been working with them until the pandemic.
"Internationally, the aim of the club, since the first day of lockdown, has been for families who take their children to a Villarreal CF academy to feel that we are closer than ever to them. As a precaution, we immediately brought all our coaches who are usually at the international academies back to Spain and we wanted them to be able to continue being connected with the players at international academies almost immediately," explains Juan Antón De Salas, the club's international director.
To overcome the current situation, the club's international department has put into place a new way of collaborating with its academies. In these tough times, the Yellows focused their help for the academies on carrying out a number of workshops with local coaches and academy directors, with the aim of helping them better deal with the current situation. Using them as a base, Villarreal CF has launched the #SoccerTogether campaign to give the message to the international academies and their communities that the values of sacrifice, overcoming adversity and team work are as important as ever at the moment, and that they are values that transcend the sporting world.
The idea is that together we are stronger to fight this virus, and we can work together through football. The clubs' coaches have video meetings every day with the youngsters from the academies and their parents, despite the time difference. The chats have been varied, from nutrition to psychology and specific ways of training that are adapted to the current lockdown situation. They also carry out other activities related to the club, such as watching classic matches, or online games and activities to test the youngsters' knowledge about the Yellows.
Furthermore, clubs and coaches from various teams have joined the #SoccerTogether campaign. Legend Marcos Senna, academy players Fer Niño, Filip Jorgensen and Diego Collado, Villarreal Women footballer Cristina Díaz and managers Miguel Álvarez and Sara Monforte have all sent messages of support to Villarreal CF's international community. There may be many miles between different members of the Villarreal family, but the internet has helped unite everyone as one club and one family.