The Yellows Academy side are supporting an Alzheimer’s charity this festive period
Villarreal CF’s U17 (Juvenil B) side are having a great season. Led by Santi Martínez, the Yellows are top of Liga Nacional Group 8, losing just one of 17 games. However, this team doesn’t only stand out because of their impressive performances on the pitch.
The teenagers are working alongside the Assosication of Family and Friends of People with Alzheimer’s (Asociación de Familiares y Amigos de Enfermos de Alzheimer – AFA), as part of the Endavant Igualtat initiative, a scheme promoted by Villarreal CF, in which a number of the 11-a-side academy teams participate.
Pablo Alberola, one of the U17s’ coaches underlines the work that they do with AFA: “We’ve done activities such as musical therapy, singing popular songs and carols. We’ve also gone on walks, helping improve physical condition and general health, as well as doing ergotherapy, doing manual tasks, such as Christmas cards.”
One of the things that Alberola wanted to underline about the group during the activity was ‘the high level of implication, willingness, motivation and independence the boys have showed’, adding: “This will help them get the most possible out of this experience with AFA.”
This sort of collaboration helps the youngsters from the academy to get in touch with their most human side, but it also shows them a reality, that as elite athletes, they are not used to. “Formation of values which they take away for daily live and their future as persons is, largely, thanks to this differential project that the club organizes. These values are fundamental so they have a greater civil consciousness in the future. A really visual example of what this activity means for the players and the coaching staff is seeing their faces full of surprise and joy when they speak to the people from the association, and how after they leave the centre, they say how quickly it went by and how they enjoyed themselves, as well as speaking amongst each other, commenting their own experiences, what was noteworthy, etc,” explained Alberola.
The coach also underlined that the charity helped them feel at ease at all times: “The feedback they gave us was very positive. The boys and the coaching staff were really pleasantly surprised at the way they hosted us. They applauded us and they played the Villarreal anthem when we came in.”
Villarreal are backing this actions, which have returned after being postponed due to the pandemic. Their aims are to help personal development of each player and member of the coaching staff. “This initiative doesn’t end with the activity that we did that day with the centre, however, we continue day-to-day capitalising on what we’ve learned from experiences like this,” said Alberola.
This unique Endavant Igualtat project sees the main teams from the Yellows Academy, as well as Villarreal Women, working alongside different charities from the province of Castellón.