EFDN Member of the month – June 2024

17 June 2024

EFDN Member of the month – June 2024

We are back with a new EFDN Member of the Month announcement! This June, we are delighted to announce SL Benfica as our Member of the Month, accompanied by an interview with their Sports Development Specialist Luís Alcobia and their Community Projects Manager Luís Rodrigues.

This initiative aims to showcase the outstanding efforts of our member clubs, leagues or FA’s honouring their dedication to using football for positive change in tmorheir communities. Each month, we select a deserving member organisation based on its leadership, innovation, and impact on social responsibility. The chosen member gains exclusive visibility across our network and beyond, allowing their inspiring work to be recognised and celebrated.

To celebrate SL Benfica’s nomination, Luís Alcobia and Luís Rodrigues accepted our invitation for an interview, enabling us to discover the remarkable experiences as well as their personal stories and initiatives that led to the club being selected as the EFDN Member of the Month.

A short intoduction to Luís Alcobia and Luís Rodrigues

  • My name is Luís Alcobia, I’m 34 years old and I have been a sport development specialist at SL Benfica for 9 years.
  • My name is Luís Rodrigues, I’m 37 years old and I’ve been a community projects manager at SL Benfica for 14 years.

What makes you smile in your role?

  • I have the special opportunity to make a change, smaller it may be, every single day.
  • The results we manage to achieve are very rewarding and the fact that we can work every day with the aim of making a difference in society is very motivating.

What inspired you to work in the CSR/ESG field and what made you interested in making a difference in the football industry specifically?

  • I really wanted to pursue a meaningful career at an NGO and combining that life goal with my passion for sports and Benfica was a dream come true.
  • Football has enormous power in society and is highly motivating, especially for younger audiences. In this context, our work of making a difference in society is made easier.

What core values guide your foundation’s work, and how do you ensure your initiatives have a lasting impact?

The core values that guide our work are equity, transparency, sustainability, and innovation. To ensure lasting impact, we conduct continuous monitoring, community engagement, strategic partnerships, capacity building, and develop replicable and scalable models. Our daily work is performed in an empathetic, fair and transparent manner. We create close relationships both with our partners and with our target audience.

What’s your favourite project? 

  • It’s hard to choose one from so many impactful projects but the Special Champions League is quite special, because it’s a highly visible behaviour change.
  • The Community Champions League is my favourite project. Even though this is the only European project that I coordinate, I really believe in its goals and it has made a difference to many young people and communities over the last 4 years in Lisbon.

Can you share a memorable story that showcases the positive impact of your foundation’s work?

  • There are countless stories I could share, with the adaptive soccer project being one where we witness kids taking their first steps outside their homes and experiencing extraordinary progress. For example, there was a boy who, at his first practice, was afraid of using escalators and had never slept away from home. Today, he is one of our captains when we travel to international tournaments, and that is priceless.
  • Recognition is very rewarding, especially for a group of young people who committed to making a lasting difference in the daily lives of their community. In one of the neighbourhoods where the Community Champions League intervened, the community recognized the team’s work, on a mural with the image of each of its young members.


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