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EPS Announces Soccer Academy Partnership with Real Madrid


District to host after school academic and sports academy funded by Ducatus Foundation for ELL students

Elizabeth, N.J., July 25, 2019 – Elizabeth Public Schools announced a partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation and Ducatus Foundation to provide targeted students with an after school program that blends classroom and athletic education at a kickoff event at Juan Pablo Duarte – José Julián Martí School No. 28 on Thursday.

Elizabeth Public Schools, the Real Madrid Foundation, and the Ducatus Foundation intend to offer a recreational program for children from more vulnerable situations and under-served communities with a social and integral education through sports. The program will teach values such as teamwork, respect, motivation, social integration, inclusion, and equality as part of Real Madrid Foundation’s specific methodology “For a Real Education: Values and Sports”, which has been proven successful in countries around the world, including the United States.

The program will consist of four separate groups of 15 students, divided into two groups receiving ESL instruction and two groups participate in soccer activities, which will rotate after 45 minutes. School No. 28, with both  outdoor and indoor facilities to support the activities, will host the program for students ages six through nine.

The three-year partnership between the district and the two foundations will cost nearly $150K for staffing and equipment, all of which will be funded by the Ducatus Foundation.

Based in Morristown, NJ, the Ducatus Foundation is a newly formed and fully registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, that seeks to fund and provide additional support to other exempt non-profit organizations for the development and integration of educational programs into local sports programs, and address the growing issues of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and anxiety among adolescents.

“At the very heart of what connects and unites us is the objective to promote values inherent in sports,” said Ducatus Foundation President Katherine Boudria. “Sports have a role in education as they contribute to the comprehensive development of personalities of those who practice them.”

Among those in attendance were New Jersey Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Union County Freeholder Sergio Granados, Elizabeth City Councilman Manny Grova, Jr., Elizabeth Board Members Charlene Bathelus and Maria Carvalho, and Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer, along with district administrators, students, and families.

The special guest speaker was Ambassador of Real Madrid C.F. Alvaro Arbeloa. Arbeloa is the current Ambassador of Real Madrid C.F. who played his professional career as a defender between Spain and England, including seasons with Real Madrid, Liverpool, and West Ham. Alrbeloa has obtained all possible existing club level titles a Spanish player can achieve, including La Liga Championship, Spanish Kings Cup, and Spanish Super Cup, as well as the UEFA Champions League, UEFA European Super Cup, and FIFA World Cup as an international player.

Arbeloa was also a part of the Spanish national team, which went on an unprecedented Euro Cup - World Cup – Euro Cup championship run from 2008 through 2012. Arbeloa was also inducted into the Royal Order of Sporting Merit in the Gold Medal category, awarded by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, on the proposal of the President of the Sports Council.

“We want to transmit some values through sports, values like teamwork, effort, commitment, and respect,” said Arbeloa. “I think these values are so important in sports, but especially in your life.”

Carvalho, along with Bathelus representing the Elizabeth Board of Education, thanked the two foundations that brought the soccer academy to Elizabeth Public schools.

“On behalf of Elizabeth Board of Education, we would like to thank the Real Madrid Foundation and the Ducatus Foundation for bringing this wonderful program to our district,” said Carvalho. “I can’t think of a better scenario than our students having the opportunity to learn valuable social and academic lessons while playing a sport that is beloved in our community as part of a program represented by one of the greatest club teams in the world.”

Hugelmeyer also thanked the Real Madrid and Ducatus foundations while sharing her excitement of bring this program to Elizabeth Public Schools.

“As home to a large Spanish-speaking community, we embrace our role as educators to seek opportunities that help students with social integration both within our schools and within our greater community,” said Hugelmeyer. “Instilling values through sports such as teamwork, respect, and inclusion, while also providing ESL instruction, will offer our students an environment to develop their social acumen, build their intellect, and enhance physical skills.”

Following the kickoff ceremony in the school’s auditorium, special guests and dignitaries in attendance took a tour of the facility and visited some students who are enrolled in the district’s summer programs.

The soccer activities will be implemented throughout the school year, with a targeted start date of October 2019. The coaches and teachers operating the soccer and extra-curricular activities will primarily be existing staff of the school district.