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. “Coca-Cola Cup was an amazing experience for me. My career started with that competition.”
Egi silenced his critics when was named Copa
He’s not alone. Since launching in Mexico in 1998, Copa Coca-Cola has expanded to more than 60 countries, reaching more than 1.3 million young players. Teams of boys and girls between 13 and 15 years old, on average, play their way through a series of regional rounds to a national championship. The format and season vary slightly by country.
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.
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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