Shakhtar’s Come On, Let’s Play Season Final
Last week, on June 1 and June 2, the Shakhtar Academy pitches near Kyiv hosted the Come On, Let’s Play final tournament. The children’s grassroots football development project is being implemented by the Shakhtar Social foundation in partnership with DTEK. In 2019, the Come On, Let’s Play! extended its reach to 23 cities and towns in Ukraine, where 3,000 children aged between 7 and 12 play football at 43 grounds.
Football festival for a hundred children
The Come On, Let’s Play final tournament was held in Shchaslyve for the third season in a row with this years Under 10s teams represented by one hundred kids from Donetsk, Mariupol, Lviv, Kurakhove, Chervonohrad, Kramatorsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Severodonetsk, Bilozerske, and Zelenodolsk.
The games were played 5 a side with the first day of the competition being a round-robin torunament in two groups, deciding the four semi-finalists.
“We are very glad that we won it” from winning teamKvadrat and the scorer of one of the goals in the final Nazar Tserkovnyi shared his emotions. “We were striving for this result, diligently training and carrying out perfectly well everything that the coach told us, – thanks to him! I really like the Come On, Let’s Play! project, you can learn a lot in it.”
The Kvadrat coach Ihor Kletsko pointed out that he would have been happy with any outcome:
“In the final, I was rooting for both my guys and Chervonohrad, and I would’ve been equally happy regardless of the winners! The main thing is that the guys play football. At our ground, we have 55 children playing football, including three girls. Everyone is trying really hard. Last year, we lost the penalty shootout, and now we are champions. I’m happy! We will try to make it to the final tournament next year as well.”
FC Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin, the DTEK CEO Maksym Timchenko, and the Shakhtar Academy Director Jorge Raffo presented all participants with commemorative medals corresponding to the positions they won, and the winners were awarded the season’s major prize.
Sergei Palkin, FC Shakhtar CEO:
“I want to welcome all the participants. Today, there are no losers – everyone did well! The guys have reached the final, the Academy, and the training base. And the main thing here is that children play football. Our objective is to distract them from the street and smartphones and bring them to the green fields. If we evaluate the progress, the project used to operate in 13 cities and towns, and today there are 23 of them. There used to be 23 grounds; currently, we have 43 grounds. Over the past year, we carried out very serious, high-quality work with DTEK, and our figures have increased nearly twofold. I want to thank the partners for the fruitful collaboration. It’s very important that DTEK focuses on the social responsibility line of grassroots football. I think it will pay off in spades because it is important to invest in young people and children. And the more we do so, the better our results will be afterwards. It’s very pleasant to watch children play and their emotions. I want to separately mention the children with disabilities. Today we saw the guys being awarded. There are about 100 children with disabilities in our project – it’s very important that we pay attention to them. We will develop this direction and invest even more funds. These children need our care. Unfortunately, the state does not really pay attention even to healthy ones, so this fact is very important to us.”
Maksym Timchenko, DTEK CEO:
– We all dream that Ukraine will become the world champions in football. And this path begins in every yard, at each Come On, Let’s Play! ground. We supported the project several years ago because this path can be successfully passed if we have the infrastructure, equipment, coaches who are ready to train our children. And today, we already see the first results. In the cities and towns of the presence of DTEK, we build football fields. We have an example of Kolya Oharkov from Dobropillia who, thanks to the Come On, Let’s Play! project, entered the Shakhtar Academy. Perhaps, this indicates that co-operation with the club will allow us to make our dream come true. The project currently operates in 23 cities and towns, and our company’s investment exceeded UAH 7,000,000 last year. And next year, we will continue at the same level. I think that this is the way to support, to invest in the future of our country, in the health, and in the upbringing of our children in order to become champions. We want to expand this project for many years, so that the number of participants will be measured in hundreds of thousands, and we will do our best for that. DTEK is the best company in the energy sector, Shakhtar is the best team in Ukraine and a top team in Europe. I’m sure that this co-operation will lead us to more results.