In Medellin’s Comuna 8, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, one of the most important Colombian soccer players in recent years, was presented as YRA’s first Youth Resilience Ambassador. As a soccer player for the Colombian national team and Juventus of Italy, Cuadrado has become a national role model of resilience for Colombian youth. He overcame vulnerability, adversity, and violence in his hometown of Apartadó, Urabá to become an international soccer star. He also worked hard to overcome personal doubts about his performance and ability.

Cuadrado Inspires Youth with Story and Soccer Tips

Sportscaster Clara Támara (2nd from R) and YRA youth participant Enrique Mena (far R) take turns asking questions of USAID Mission Director Lawrence Sacks (far L) and newly appointed Youth Resilience Ambassador Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (2nd from L).

The event took place in Medellin’s Comuna 8, one of YRA’s priority areas in the department of Antioquia. It kicked off with a conversation between Cuadrado, USAID Colombia Mission Ambassador Lawrence Sacks, Sportscaster Clara Támara, and YRA youth participant Enrique Mena. During this conversation, Cuadrado shared his life story, which demonstrated to youth that, with dedication, discipline, and resilience, they can achieve their dreams.

Following the conversation, the soccer player led a clinic in which he instructed 14 children and youth from the neighborhood about different tips to improve their technique, such as taking a penalty kick and heading a ball. He also participated in a short pick-up soccer game with 20 youth.

Specialized sports media outlets Win Sport, ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports, and Gol Caracol covered the launch event as did traditional outlets including Caracol Tv, Radiónica, Canal Telemedellín, Teleantioquia, RCN Radio, Caracol Radio, Radio Policía Nacional, Telepacífico, Telecafé, Teleoriente, and Rolling Stone Colombia, among others.

YRA youth participants play a pick-up soccer game with Youth Resilience Ambassador Cuadrado.

Learn more about the USAID Colombia Youth Resilience Activity here.

Learn more about our work in Colombia here.