Before returning to his home in Italy after an impressive World Cup showing with the national team, Colombian winger Juan Guillermo Cuadrado took the time to play soccer with children in an impoverished neighborhood in Medellin, Colombian media reported on Monday.
Cuadrado arrived to a sandy soccer field in the La Sierra neighborhood bearing uniforms and equipment as part of a community outreach. Located on the distant outskirts of Medellin’s eastern mountains, La Sierra was a hotspot in the drug wars of the 1980s and 1990s and is still thought of as one of the more dangerous areas in the city.
“We want to show the friendly face of this neighborhood and that is why I recommend that the children bet on the sport, remembering that God is the only one who can change this,” said Cuadrado, aka “El Picadito.”
With the message “Jesus makes the change,” Cuadrado danced the steps of Colombia’s goal celebrations with local children while reiterating, “If we all work and strive together, we can always move forward.”
Before taking to the pitch, Cuadrado gave a 30-minute speech about soccer in front of some 500 people who were gathered to see one of their national heroes, who came up playing for the local Independiente de Medellin side.
With the sponsorship of Adidas, El Picadito distributed uniforms and equipment to 60 children before taking part in a series of friendly games with the community.
Together with Adidas and Cuadrado, members of the spiritually-based Faith Community will provide youth with logistical support, spiritual counseling, nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers, according to El Pais.