Coca-Cola, Boys and Girls Clubs partner for soccer training clinic

Pictured (l-r): Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, Miami-Dade School Board District 6 Member Raquel Regalado, former soccer defender of the U.S. National Soccer Team Marcelo Balboa, Univision sportscaster Fernando Fiore and community marketing director of Coca-Cola South Florida Eddie Diaz, are joined by 14 youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade at Club Balón Rojo.

The Coca-Cola Company, Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund joined forces on Feb. 28 to host Club Balón Rojo, a soccer training clinic that prepared 14 youth of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami- Dade for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with their soccer heroes — to participate as the ball-kids in the International Friendly: Mexico vs. Colombia the following night at SunLife Stadium.

Based on their efforts in school, standing with the Boys and Girls Clubs, and commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle, the ball-kids were chosen to participate.

“Coca-Cola is proud to have a longstanding alliance with the Boys & Girls Clubs,” said Reinaldo Padua, assistant vice president of Hispanic Marketing, Coca-Cola. “We congratulate the youngsters who earned the opportunity to participate in Coca-Cola Club Balón Rojo and serve as ball-kids for this exciting match.”

Leading the clinic was Marcelo Balboa, former defender for the U.S. national team and a member of the Soccer Hall of Fame, as well as Univision sportscaster Fernando Fiore. Also in attendance was Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who joined by his daughter Raquel Regalado, Miami-Dade School Board District 6 member, who congratulated the select youth on their accomplishments and ball kid status.

At the start of the event, the 14 youth from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami- Dade were welcomed and presented with a soccer uniform. After the kids changed into their soccer gear, soccer sensation Balboa and sportscaster Fiore escorted them to the field and conducted drills for dribbling, passing, receiving, heading and shooting. At the conclusion of the clinic, a friendly soccer match between the kids was played — testing the soccer skills they had just learned.

To highlight the importance of education, the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund offered the ball-kids and their families the opportunity to take part in a workshop aimed at providing youth with the tools necessary to succeed in school and continue their education at the college level.

Club Balón Rojo is Coca-Cola’s Live Positively soccer initiative that promotes education, active living and community service among Hispanic youth and their families. Miami is the second U.S. city to launch the community initiative this year. Coca-Cola’s Club Balón Rojo initiative will follow the Mexican National Soccer Team in its 2012 U.S. Tour.

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