As a kid, Egi Melgiansyah played football barefoot in the dirt streets of a village in West Java, Indonesia. Penniless but passionate, he pursued his dream over the years with grit and determination, drowning out naysayers who didn’t believe in him.
“Most people thought I had no talent,” he recalls. “One day while I was jogging as part of my afternoon training, a man shouted at me, ‘You’ll never be successful.’”
Words like that stung, but they also motivated Egi to work harder. He got his break when he heard about a local tournament called Copa
“It’s a proving ground for young players that allows them to achieve their dreams and secure their future,” recalls Egi. “
Egi silenced his critics when was named Copa
He’s not alone. Since launching in Mexico in 1998, Copa
The 2014 global Copa
In the United States, for example, the program re-launched this year. Teams competed in round-robin tournaments in 10 cities before reaching the finals in Los Angeles at the end of April. The weekend event was held during the last stop on the international leg of the 90-country FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour. “In the U.S., Copa Cola-Cola is one of the biggest proof points of our active, healthy living commitment in 2014 and going forward," said Jose Torrens, brand manager, Hispanic marketing.
A few weeks from now, four players from the U.S. champion teams (two boys and two girls) will join more than 100 other participants from 25-plus countries in Brazil for the inaugural Copa
Football will be the universal language spoken on the field. “The experience is not a survival-of-the-fittest, country-versus-country showdown,” Aksoy explains. “It’s not about who wins or loses. We want to create connections and encourage teens to express themselves through their shared devotion to this beautiful game.”
On June 11, select campers will play a Special
Olympics Unified Game with local Special
Olympics athletes. The next day, they will travel to Sao Paulo for the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening match, where the
“Everything we have planned supports the
World’s Cup message,” Aksoy adds, referring to the global
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