Left to Right: Jordi Mestres, (footballer,Special Olympics Barcelona), Diego Zurriaga (footballer, Special Olympics Barcelona), Brady Lum, Dani Alves and Jaume Subirana (footballer, Special Olympics Barcelona) pose to commemorate Alves' announcement. (Courtesy: Special Olympics)Dani Alves Global Football Ambassador
For Immediate Release
Brazilian Football Star and FC Barcelona Defender Scores For Respect & Inclusion For People With Intellectual Disabilities
BARCELONA, Spain - Brazilian football star and FC Barcelona defender, Dani Alves Da Silva (Dani Alves) has today been appointed as a Special Olympics Ambassador for Global Football. The announcement was made today by Special Olympics President & COO Brady Lum following a signing event in Barcelona.
As a Special Olympics Ambassador for Global Football, Alves is charged with promoting greater inclusion and respect for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the game of football worldwide.
“Football changed my life. It has opened more opportunities for me and has shaped me as a man.” says Dani Alves. “As an Ambassador for Special Olympics I want to play my part in ensuring that more and more athletes with intellectual disabilities have the chance to transform their own lives through the joy of football, achieving greater things both on and off the pitch. And in turn, they will inspire us all with their courage and spirit.”
Football is the largest sport in Special Olympics with more than 435,000 athletes and 206 accredited programmes worldwide. Alves will champion the Special Olympics Global Football Program, whose main aim is to bring football to a total of 1,000,000 players with intellectual disabilities worldwide. The Program has also set out to increase the quality of coaching and help athletes build skills they can use on and off the field of play, while connecting with a fan base of footballers around the world to raise vital funds for the movement.
Brady Lum, President & COO of Special Olympics extended his warm congratulations and welcome to Dani Alves’ appointment. “It is estimated that only one in 500 children with an intellectual disability will be given the chance to play football due to being seen by their peers as being “different” or “without ability. Now one of the world’s best defenders is on our team, defending the right of people with intellectual disabilities to equal opportunities in sport. We are delighted to welcome Dani Alves to our Special Olympics family”.
Dani Alves joins a league of football heroes who have all enthusiastically thrown their support behind the Special Olympics Global Football initiative including Osvaldo Ardilles, Enrique Borja, Teofilo Cubillas, Desiree Ellis, Lori Fair, Kaka, Christian Karembeu, Hidetoshi Nakata, Lucas Radebe, Romario, Clarence Seedorf, Javier Zanetti, and Zico. Special Olympics Team Ambassadors include Inter-Milan from Italy, UK Premier League Club Tottenham Hotspur, and Club Corinthians Paulista from Brazil.
In 2007 Special Olympics Global Football (SOGF) was launched with the aim to use the visibility and reach of the world's most popular sport to generate greater public awareness, acceptance and respect for people with intellectual disabilities, and to raise the necessary funds to significantly expand Special Olympics football participation on every continent.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world, from community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard to World Games. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship.
About Daniel Alves da Silva
Born in Juazeiro, Brazil on May 6, 1983, Daniel Alves da Silva, commonly known as Dani Alves, plays as an attacking right defender for FC Barcelona and the Brazilian national team. Before joining Barcelona, Alves spent a successful six year spell with Sevilla FC, winning two UEFA Cups and the Copa del Rey with the Andalucian side. He joined Barcelona for €32.5 million, becoming the most expensive defender to date. Alves won the Treble in his first season with the club and a further Spanish super cup, European super cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup, thus achieveing the Sextuple. He also helped the club to clinch another Spanish super cup, two league titles, and a UEFA Champions League in the years that followed.