Top Footballers Moved by Power of ‘Come on, Play!’

FC Shakhtar footballers Andriy Pyatov and Danylo Sikan are moved by the “heroism” of Special Olympics athletes, parents and coaches as they visit the award-winning ‘Come on, Play!’ project in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
800x668 - Top Footballers Moved.jpg
Shakhtar captain Andriy Pyatov and the ‘Come on, Play!’ team at a master class for Special Olympics Ukraine athletes as part of ‘Come on, Play!’ organised by Shakhtar Social, Special Olympics Ukraine and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ukraine.

Shakhtar captain Andriy Pyatov and striker Danylo Sikan were deeply impressed by their visit to School No. 124 in Kharkiv, where Shakhtar Social, together with Special Olympics Ukraine and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ukraine, are organising football training sessions for a team of girls with intellectual disabilities every weekend. As part of ‘Come on, Play!’, the Shakhtar players provided a master class with the Special Olympics athletes, chatted and signed autographs.

The project—led by Shakhtar Social—has already been awarded the United Nations Partnership for Sustainability Award and the coveted 'More than Football' award at the 2019 European Football for Development Network (EFDN) Conference. Special Olympics Ukraine and UNFPA Ukraine are among the partners implementing it since November 2019 in four cities of Ukraine (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Mariupol).

Footballers and athletes standing in a circle holding hands.
Shakhtar captain Andriy Pyatov and striker Danylo Sikan with the ‘Come on, Play!’ team at a master class for Special Olympics Ukraine athletes as part of ‘Come on, Play!’ organised by Shakhtar Social, Special Olympics Ukraine and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ukraine.

Speaking at the recent master class in Kharkiv, Shakhtar captain Andriy Pyatov, noted, “Football is considered the number one sport in the world. We, the players, have a responsibility to support such projects. I am impressed with the heroism of parents and coaches. These are our children and they deserve the best.”

Shakhtar forward Danylo Sikan added, “We, like these girls, are filled with positive emotions after training sessions like these. It's always a pleasure to talk to children. We will try to motivate them to continue playing sports.”

Training sessions with football stars are, of course, highly exciting for the athletes however for Special Olympics Ukraine, the main focus is on helping the project participants to improve their football skills and encouraging them to play and love football. ‘Come on, Play!’ continues to go from strength to strength and in 2020-2021, four more girls teams will join. The ultimate aim is that 80 girls aged between seven and 12 will benefit from the ‘Come On, Play’. It will see two local tournament and one final tournament being held in April 2021 involving one team from each cities.

Recommended Content
Israeli Hapoel Haifa team, a mascot, and Special Olympics athletes hold up a banner on the pitch before the championship football game starts.
One very special day in late 2019, a group of athletes from Special Olympics Israel had the experience of a lifetime. They escorted the players of Hapoel Haifa onto the pitch ahead of a national championship match!
1 Min Read
Woman from Special Olympics Haiti competes in race at the 2019 World Games.
A Very Special Christmas Helps Send 104 Athletes to the 2019 World Games
1 Min Read
In a line of female athletes standing on a stage with medals around their necks, one shakes hand with a female standing on the ground.
Players at the recent Special Olympics European Football Tournament were not only cheered on by friends, fans and families, they were also supported by international football star Célia Šašić.
3 Min Read