(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced a new partnership between the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), Fútbol Club (FC) Barcelona, and the FC Barcelona Foundation. The partnership includes access to the FútbolNet soccer training program for DCPS middle school students and the opportunity for DCPS high school soccer players to train abroad in Barcelona. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson, DC Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) Director Diana Parente, FC Barcelona Vice President Jordi Cardoner, and former FC Barcelona player Juliano Belletti.
“As we work to accelerate school reforms and transform the learning experience of our middle and high school students, this partnership with FC Barcelona will provide our students with a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a unique opportunity to train with a world-renowned soccer club,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through increased investments in academic and extracurricular programming, my Administration is finding new ways to expand in-school and out-of-school opportunities for our young people and this partnership builds on those efforts.”
A major component of the partnership includes a trip to Barcelona during Spring Break 2018 for a team of young women representing each DCPS high school. During the trip, the soccer players will participate in training, play against a local team, get a tour of the FC Barcelona stadium, and attend a game.
Earlier this year, the Bowser Administration launched Reign: Empowering Young Women as Leaders, a multi-pronged initiative to support young women of color in DCPS. The partnership with FC Barcelona will support Reign’s goal of building community, confidence, and leadership skills in young women of color, and DCIAA will partner with Reign to support the players traveling abroad.
“DC Public Schools is excited to begin a new partnership with FC Barcelona, an organization with a strong commitment to supporting youth around the world,” said Chancellor Wilson. “Through joyful learning experiences like athletic trainings and study abroad, students will have new opportunities to develop their soccer skills, grow social-emotionally, and thrive academically.”
Additionally, during the summer of 2018, the FútbolNet program will work with middle school students through the DCIAA Middle School Summer Program. FútbolNet uses soccer to teach students social-emotional skills, self-confidence, and a sense of responsibility. The program is currently operating in dozens of countries around the world, including: Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and 36 African countries.
“FútbolNet has been an outstanding tool for promoting social inclusion of children in more than 50 countries thanks to the FC Barcelona Foundation,” said Jordi Cardoner, Vice President of FC Barcelona. “Now, we are proud to bring this proven methodology to the children of Washington, DC.”