June 11 2006
Festive afternoon at Costa Rica training facility
11/06/2006 - Alvaro Mesén, goalkeeper for Costa Rica's national team and "FIFA for SOS Children's Villages" ambassador, met with children from Football Club Walldorf during a training session as part of his efforts to raise awareness for the 6 villages for 2006 campaign. Mesén invited the children onto the pitch and arranged for a group photo with the entire Costa Rican team!
The Costa Rican national football team is training for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Walldorf, near Heidelberg. Most days their practice sessions are closed to the public, so children from the local football club were delighted when Alvaro Mesén invited them to watch the goalkeepers practice on 11 June. While Mesén practiced, Rodrigo, the team's physical therapist and equipment manager, had fun teaching the children Spanish words and phrases. When the full squad entered the pitch, the children cheered "Costa Rica!", "Costa Rica!" in unison. Mesén organised a group photo with his team-mates and the children at midfield in front of a large group international media.
Mesén won six national championships with Alajuelense, and he also played in Alajuelense's UNCAF championship-winning team. He is an experienced goalkeeper who played on Costa Rica's 2002 FIFA World Cup™ team and has played in eight qualifying matches for this year's tournament. He currently has 38 international caps for Costa Rica dating to 1999.
Mesén, who has served as a FIFA/SOS ambassador since 2001 and is very active in humanitarian work in Costa Rica, invited the children because he supports SOS Children's Villages work and is promoting the 6 villages for 2006 campaign.
"Social responsibility is very important to me, and we as football players have a particularly significant effect on children. That is one reason I support the building of six new children's villages," said Mesén. "I was the youngest of five children, and I believe that the family is the most important source of strength."
6 villages for 2006, a joint charity campaign between SOS Children's Villages and FIFA, is the most ambitious fundraising project ever in the history of football's biggest tournament. Every donation made will help SOS Children's Villages and FIFA provide 800 orphaned, abandoned and destitute children with a new family environment at six new children's villages - one each in Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Ukraine and Vietnam. A further 5,000 children and 1,000 families will benefit from new ancillary schools and social centres.
Mesén pledged to continue his work for SOS Children's Villages. "I am happy to help SOS Children's Villages in any way I can," said Mesén. "I believe in the value of a family, and I think this is an outstanding organisation in helping children and supporting families."