• ESPN & Local Organizations Build and Open Multifunctional Sports Space in San Juan, Puerto Rico

    • YMCA of San Juan celebrates the opening of courts that will be home to sustainable programs
      teaching young people life-skills through sports
    • Puerto Rican Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig helps opens the space during special event.

    San Juan, Puerto Rico: At a special virtual event on Tuesday, August 17, ESPN and partners officially opened a newly transformed multifunctional sports space dedicated to the local community and its residents The site is the tenth in the global Built to Play project series, led by ESPN. Partners on the project include the local community, award-winning sport for development organizations love.fútbol and Coaches Across Continents, the YMCA of San Juan, the Puerto Rico Tennis Association (PRTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA).

    Encompassing a revitalization and beautification of courts located at the YMCA San Juan, the space is
    designed to provide a safe place to play for the surrounding community and to offer ongoing programming using the power of sports to educate young people on key local and personal development issues.

    Hosted by Marly Rivera, ESPN’s Major League Baseball National Reporter, the virtual media event and ribbon-cutting was attended by special guest speaker, professional tennis player and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Monica Puig; Freddy Rolón, Vice President, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions; Rosa María Martínez, Executive Director, USTA Caribbean and PRTA; Mabel Román Padró, Executive Director, YMCA of San Juan; and, Mano Silva, Chief Operating Officer, love.fútbol.

    “I have always believed that we do our best work when we can use the power of the ESPN brand to serve as an agent of change and bring positive impact to communities,” said Freddy Rolón. “We were pleased to bring ESPN Built to Play to the YMCA of San Juan and to collaborate with love.fútbol, Coaches Across Continents, the local community, the YMCA and the PRTA to provide a space in a community where there is a need and where it can truly make a difference. I know that it will continue to be a focal point for this community for many years to come; a place where kids can play sports, have fun, learn, and thrive.

    The virtual event celebrated the site and featured remarks from the project partners on its social impact on the G8 community. It also included a special Q&A between Olympic champion Monica Puig and two children from the USTA Foundation’s local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter

    Monica Puig said, “It is an honor to be part of this great initiative. I want to thank ESPN Built to Play, the YMCA of San Juan, the PRTA, and everyone involved for making a difference not only through the sport of tennis but through sports overall to help improve the health and wellness of our youth. It’s been very special for me to see the growth of interest in tennis in Puerto Rico ever since I won the gold medal, especially among kids. Sports, in general, are a great resource for kids to learn life skills, stay active and also deal with mental health issues, which are especially timely with the pandemic. Thanks to this project, the kids in the community will have this as a safe haven to go outside, stay active, explore their passions and talents, and simply be kids.”

    By fostering a more inclusive community and ensuring quality programming, this space will serve as a hub for local youth to play, participate in skills-development programs, and grow. The project engages the G8 community and YMCA members through a variety of sports – including new opportunities to play and learn through tennis and football – and activities for different ages, but mainly targeting boys and girls aged 6 to 15-years-old. Parents will also be part of the process. Project manager love.fútbol led the transformation of the space and programming partner Coaches Across Continents virtually trained local expert coaches – including Fundación Golitos, which runs adapted sports program for children with disabilities – on its customized Purposeful Play curriculum. The programming will be used to facilitate powerful discussions with youth around leadership, mental well-being, healthy living, and social inclusion. From August 2021– August 2022, the coaches will deliver weekly sessions reaching at least 600 young people monthly in full compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

    Read the full press release here.

  • #BuiltToPlay with ESPN in Sydney

    February 28th 2019. We are delighted to announce our collaboration with ESPN/Disney, and other incredible partners in Sydney, Australia as part of their global Built to Play project.

    Today, Coaches Across Continents were delighted to be present at the official opening of a new, multifunctional sports space in Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia. The first of its kind that ESPN/Disney has done in Sydney and the eighth Built to Play project globally. The space, built by community volunteers and ESPN and Disney employees, is designed to provide a safe place to play for the surrounding community, as well as offer ongoing programming using the power of sports to educate young people on key local issues. The event included music, special cultural performances, and a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a showcase of the programming that will occur onsite. The project is led by ESPN and The Walt Disney Company, in collaboration with Education Outside the Classroom organizations, love.futbol, Coaches Across Continents and PCYC Mt Druitt.

    CAC is proud to be a part of this ESPN/Disney #BuiltToPlay initiative that brings a Love.Fútbol safe space and CAC’s Purposeful Play to PCYC Mt. Druitt to benefit tens of thousands of children and their families for years to come. – Brian Suskiewicz, Chief Executive, CAC

    As well as showcasing CAC’s work during the inauguration, our Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz will be running a Purposeful Play training program for PCYC coaches, teachers and community leaders over the next 3 days on the new pitches. We will then work closely with the PCYC to implement programming around key social topics identified by them over the next 10 months. Topics include community re-integration, gender equality, conflict prevention, health and substance abuse. The project will also include opportunities for ESPN employees in Sydney to engage with the PCYC, CAC and the community initiative throughout 2019.

    Because of #BuiltToPlay we have the potential ability to further develop our programming regarding youth guidance in education, safety, and core values to another level. – Lance Chaloner, Senior Club Manager at PCYC Mt. Druitt