Young refugees play football in Rome | Photo: ANSA
Young refugees play football in Rome | Photo: ANSA

The Kick Off Day project gives young migrants in Italy the possibility of playing in front of professionals who could help them start a career in football. This weekend, the first tryout is being held in Rome.

The first Kick Off Day event of the season will be held on July 10 in Rome. The goal of the organizers is to promote the social inclusion of migrants and refugees, who often face discrimination and other hurdles when trying to enter the workforce.

The event is organized by RIA Management -- an association of intermediation in sports, which is also involved in scouting -- and Cies -- an association that promotes job opportunities, in particular for young migrants.

Tryout at Rome soccer school

The event will take place at Rome's soccer school 'Cinecittà Bettini'.

A group of 30 youths who live with foster families or in hosting centers and make a living in Italy with precarious jobs, will be able to play under the watch of RIA scouts.

Daniele Andreozzi, president of RIA and the head judge of the tryout, told ANSAmed that "soccer is a profession and can guarantee contracts to youths who are unlucky but talented."

"We started in a low-key way two years ago, finding a 20-year-old from Senegal who then went to Veneto to play for an amateur team. His president then found him a job in the region's industry," he said, insisting that meritocracy is at the center of the initiative.

Young migrants aged 17 to 23

"It is a true job interview addressed to those who really know how to play soccer. Among youths -- mainly coming from Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Morocco and Egypt, aged between 17 and 23 -- there are two who have also played for their national youth teams and were subsequently forced to abandon them for an uncertain destiny elsewhere."

The best players who will be selected on Saturday will return at the end of September for a final selection, organizers said.

"During the season, which goes from September to May, we will evaluate some 120 (players) over four appointments", said Andreozzi. "We would have started earlier if it hadn't been for the COVID-19 pandemic. The event on Saturday therefore represents a new beginning."

 

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