The Junior TIM Cup | Keep Racism Out lands in Cagliari

Rossoblù World - 05/04/2024

As part of the 11th stage of the Junior TIM Cup | Keep Racism Out – the youth 7-a-side football tournament promoted by Lega Serie A, TIM and Centro Sportivo Italiano, which celebrates its 11th edition this year – Cagliari Calcio hosted the ‘Meet the Champion’ initiative. Representatives of the Rossoblù club welcomed the boys from the ‘San Pietro’ Oratory of Assemini to the Unipol Domus, who were able to spend an unforgettable day alongside a great protagonist of Serie A TIM.

Taking part in the ‘Keep Racism Out’ meeting, the campaign aimed at raising awareness among young people and others on the phenomenon of racism and all forms of discrimination, was footballer Gianluca Lapadula, who told the young people present about his own football experience, emphasising the importance of respect and cooperation in sport as in life. The young athletes then presented Lapadula with the ‘1 of Us’ jersey, symbol of the JTC | KRO competition. Also present at the event, underlining the synergy aspired to between grassroots and professional sport, were the youngsters from Cagliari Calcio’s youth sector.

“Football, and sport in general, must be a tool to help inclusion and combat all types of discrimination. Respect for others, for the rules, for me is at the basis of everything, of any relationship. It is something that has always accompanied me and that I consider fundamental to achieving one’s goals,’ said the red and blue striker. Gianluca Lapadula.

Brotherhood, cooperation and integration are precisely the values for which sport in general and the Junior TIM Cup | Keep Racism Out in particular want to be spokesmen, guiding the younger generations on a path that always puts welcome and fairplay first.

Among those who dialogued with the children from the ‘San Pietro’ Oratory in Assemini and stimulated reflection on the issues of racism and discrimination were Fabio Zarra, Club psychologist, Oumar Daffe, from the Corporate Social Responsibility Office of Lega Serie A, and Sergio Arizio from CSI Cagliari. Cagliari Calcio’s Business and Media Director Stefano Melis did the honours.

Space was then given to the boys’ questions and curiosity for the red-blue bomber. “When did I start playing football? I think I was born with a ball between my feet! I started as a child, like you I used to attend the oratory near my home in Turin, I would spend hours and hours there,’ Lapadula said. “Today I can say that football is life for me, ever since I was a child I dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, what I have become. However, I put two things before football: family and school. A good education is the key to overcoming difficulties, to lay a solid foundation to build your future”.

With over 180 goals scored so far in his career, it legitimises the question: what is goals for Lapadula? “All the goals were important to me, regardless of the category in which I scored them. Every time I feel the same emotions, I live for the goal’. “I feel satisfied with everything I’ve done so far: I’ve been lucky enough to take great satisfaction both individually and as a team, in the club as well as in the national team. Reaching Serie A has certainly been very important on a professional and emotional level. What I did last season with Cagliari, for example, will be something unforgettable”.

The joys, but also the difficulties. How are they overcome? ‘Throughout all these years in my career there have of course also been the difficult moments, the injuries, the suffering,’ said the striker. “I always treasured everything and used those moments to grow, to become stronger. I have never demoralised myself. I always believed I could achieve my goals, even when it was ‘almost’ impossible. I always looked ahead, with the goal in my head and the knowledge that I was ready to do anything to reach it. So I say to the guys, whatever you want to do in life, chase that dream with all your heart, never give up.

The Junior TIM Cup, from its inception in 2013 until 2023, has involved more than 90,000 youngsters, more than 6,650 oratories and played around 35,000 matches. For the past two years, the Junior TIM Cup has espoused the Lega Serie A’s ‘Keep Racism Out’ campaign, and this year too it will involve CSI oratories across the country in reflection meetings and educational activities, which will see champions from Serie A TIM clubs, educators and experts interact with the tournament’s under-14 participants.

On Sunday 7 April, it will be the boys from the ‘San Pietro’ Oratory in Assemini and the ‘SS. Vergine degli Angeli’ of Maracalagonis to be the protagonists: before Cagliari-Atalanta they will take the field and experience the thrill of playing the Junior TIM Cup at the Unipol Domus.

The events of the under-14 tournament – aimed at the oratories of cities whose teams play in the TIM 2023/2024 Serie A – will therefore continue in the coming weeks. As in Cagliari, the young athletes will be involved in awareness-raising meetings with champions of great football, as well as being guests of the clubs on tours of top league stadiums and at JTC | KRO matches played in the pre-match period of Serie A TIM matches.

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