Since the beginning of 2009, love.fútbol contributed to the completion of two brand new soccer fields. Thanks to the support of the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Guatemalan Department of Physical Education and the hard work of two well-deserving communities, love.fútbol is proud to announce these latest successful projects. Tuitzaj
Initiating construction at the end of 2008, the indigenous Ma’am-speaking community of Tuitzaj, San Marcos, located in the far Western reaches of Guatemala and near the highest point in Central America, built what might be our most visually striking soccer field to date. With views that extend far across the country, the community, with the support of local officials, undertook an ambitious project built into the side of a mountain between the local school and church. While the field is a public community asset, it will primarily serve the 235 students that attend the local school.
Though at times a challenging project, local belief in the potential of a love.fútbol field was more than apparent. Volunteers from neighboring communities showed up to the project site regularly to offer a hand and contribute to the successful completion of the new facility. Notably, one local entrepreneur seized the opportunity to create his own business venture around the field, opening a small convenience store to capitalize on the increased foot traffic—a clear indication that love.fútbol has a broad economic and developmental impact on communities, well beyond the confines of the goal posts.
This past Easter Sunday, love.fútbol inaugurated its most ambitious project to date in the remote village of Canguacha, Alta Verapaz. The people of Canguacha speak Keq’chi, making our fifth project our fourth experience working alongside an indigenous community of a distinct language and culture. The soccer field was our largest yet (29 x 22 meters) and directly serves 526 local students. As the only field of its kind in the area, locals estimate that schools and local players from eight surrounding villages will also come to use the field, easily moving the total number of beneficiaries into the thousands.
The field’s size, remote location and expansive reach presented a new set of challenges to our team; however, Canguacha embodied the passion fueling the mission of love.fútbol. The community displayed an unparalleled level of commitment to the project and often upwards of 70 volunteers could be found working on the field at the same time. Including donated labor hours, the people of Canguacha financed more than half of the entire project. In one instance, volunteers worked diligently into the night to meet the project completion date!
Upon completion, community members organized a lively inauguration ceremony to celebrate their new community asset. Over 300 spectators witnessed Canguacha’s first youth girls’ soccer teams kick-off what would be the first of many games to be played on their new field. After songs and performances by local school children, love.fútbol co-founder Drew Chafetz and National Director César García were presented with artwork from elementary school students. Finally, after youth teams had had their first chance to play, the love.fútbol team walked on the field to play against the local team, continuing a tradition that began at the inauguration of its first project almost two years ago Thanks to the support of the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Guatemalan Department of Physical Education and the hard work of two well-deserving communities, love.fútbol is proud to announce these latest successful projects.