Clarence Seedorf joins the Board of Trustees of the UEFA Foundation for Children.
Seedorf, the only player to have won the UEFA Champions League Cup with three different clubs, has devoted himself to social projects both during and after his playing career, using the power of sport to create positive change.
“We are delighted to welcome Clarence to the UEFA Foundation for Children community,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, who also heads the foundation.
“He’s an inspiration, not only because he’s one of the greatest footballers of his generation, but also because he’s always used his experiences to create a better world for others. Having Clarence on our team will be very beneficial to the Foundation as we work together to improve the lives of disadvantaged children around the world. »
give back to communities
Seedorf, who speaks six languages and has represented the Netherlands 87 times, added: “It is an honor and a pleasure to join the UEFA Foundation for Children. I have been following his activities closely and I am very happy to bring my stone to the building.
“I have spoken to President Čeferin for some time and I am touched that he appreciates having me on the team. I hope we can enjoy this relationship for a long time, achieve great things and give back to communities around the world. »
After signing with the foundation, Seedorf spoke more about his role in a Q&A where he highlighted the importance of sport as a vehicle for change and addressed UEFA EURO 2020.
The 55 projects of the foundation in 2020/21
Clarence, welcome to the UEFA Foundation for Children. How do you see your role on the Board of Trustees developing?
“I think joining the foundation is a positive development in my relationship with UEFA, which has been going on for some time now, and we understand the importance of football in society and in children’s lives.
I’ve been involved in foundations for more than 20 years, which gives me a good idea of what it takes to make a difference and to create projects that make a difference.
But first I want to try to better understand how the foundation works, learn from it and see how I can use my knowledge and experience towards its goals and ultimately improve it and add value as a team member. I am very pleased and very proud to be entrusted with this mandate. »
How important is it for players and athletes to use their influence to support positive change?
“Many athletes are involved in charitable causes, either on their own behalf or by lending their names to other institutions or organizations.
It’s very personal, and not everyone invests in the same way. There are visionaries who get involved in the decision-making process, while others prefer to be behind the scenes or in the shadows.
No one needs to put themselves first, but I think we all need to give back to those who have given us so much over the years.
“I’ve always observed a desire from players to contribute to good causes and I like to continue playing my role without comparing myself to others or expecting anything from them. I think we should start with ourselves and try to do as much as possible. »
Who inspired you? Who was your role model in your life?
“The first models are of course my parents. They have always been positive role models in my life. I would also name some teachers I had in school and when I first started playing soccer.
“Nelson Mandela in particular has played and continues to play a central role in my mission, having weathered difficult times, charting the path and continuing to work for the less privileged and for a more peaceful world.
“I am convinced that education leads to peace and that education must be supplemented by sport, especially in the first years of life. These are the key elements that I think will change the world. And as a team, we have the ability and the means to make a difference.
“In terms of having role models in life – and here we come back to gamers a little bit – I think the role that gamers have today and even more than 20 years ago is to be positive role models and to be aware to be that children are watching them, tracking their actions and observing their behavior.
These role models have always kept me on the right path: a spiritual path of giving and giving back when possible. »
Mandela spoke of the power of sport to inspire change in the world. How important can sport be as a social tool?
“Through sport he was able to change the face of an entire country and the meaning of unity. So it’s a very, very powerful tool. A tool that, if used correctly, is effective and efficient.
This is what I think we should strive for: to create and support very strong and sustainable projects that use sport as a fundamental tool to improve the overall development and life of young children.
It is scientifically proven that sport promotes the cognitive and creative development of children between the ages of 5 and 12: every child should have the right to it. »
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