The emotional story of Batiste and the U17s
The emotional story of Batiste and the U17s

The elderly man from the Virgen de Gracia care home regained his enthusiasm with the visits of the Yellows’ academy team

Batiste is a big Villarreal fan who lives in the Virgen de Gracia care home. As a result of the pandemic, Batiste began to be afraid to leave the centre, so he missed out on the activities that the home carries out outside, including those framed within Villarreal CF’s Endavant project.

During the season, the youth players from the U17s have visited the home, where they have carried out activities with him and the other elderly people. Thanks to the visits of the young players, Batiste recovered his enthusiasm and confidence. At the beginning, he still missed out on outdoor activities even though he really wanted to go, as his fear was greater than his enthusiasm.

However, with therapy and the incentive of being with the players, he gradually gained confidence, until the players promised him that if he dared to go on an outing around the residence, they would give him a club coat. Such was his enthusiasm that he decided to sign up for the excursion with the team to the José Soriano square, where he enjoyed it so much that since then he has not missed a single outing.

Academy player David Pastor explains the activities they have been doing with the centre throughout the year: “We have played Parcheesi, also games of guessing songs or films, we also drew with them, and when we could leave the residence they taught us how to play petanque.” After sharing so many moments together, going to see an U17s match was something very special for Batiste, as well as a nice way to conclude this whole process.

For this reason, the elderly of the Virgen de Gracia home accompanied the U17s in their league match against Atlético Benidorm. The academy players welcomed them by giving them scarves and flags to cheer them on during the match. It was a very nice get-together where everyone was very happy to be able to share these moments with each other.

Batiste returned to what was once his home, as he worked as a youngster maintaining the football pitch. During the match he enjoyed and celebrated the Submarine’s goals, an experience he will never forget. Neither will the canteranos of the yellow team, for whom it was also a very special day.

Another of the youth players, Samuel Rozas, appreciates this initiative: “It feels very good. We are not only here to train as footballers, but also as people. Doing these things is good for them and also for us. They don’t get many visitors at the residence and it makes their routine a bit more pleasant. Our activities help them to have a better time. He also stresses that the experience was also very positive for the rest of the team: “On the other hand, it helps us to establish relationships with different people and not only with the people we have here at the club.”

Later, Batiste also attended the Endavant Igualtat final party with all the academy teams and associations involved in the project. Thus, this endearing senior overcame his fears with the help of football and the Yellows’ youth team, as well as his friends from the Virgen de Gracia care home in Vila-real, accompanied him in this process.