Poland’s Field of Dreams
For young sports fans in Mrągowo, Poland, the desire to play on a professional football surface seemed like a dream that would never come true. Their local community field was basically an uneven concrete slab where huge puddles of water would gather. The goals didn’t have nets, and there was no surrounding fence to keep the ball within reach.
While football provides a great opportunity for children to escape their daily routine, have fun, and develop leadership skills, it is challenging to play on a surface where a slide could send a kid home with cuts and scrapes, or to the hospital for stitches.
All that changed when FedEx, UEFA Foundation for children, and streetfootballworld teamed up to replace the old makeshift football field with a “Field in a Box™”, a low maintenance, artificial turf football field that resembles the surfaces where professional players compete. Now, the kids of Mrągowo have a surface to develop their skills to aspire to become a professional footballer one day. Maja Matwiejczuk, a frequent visitor to the old field commented, “The new field gives me more opportunities. I dreamed of playing on the grass, not on the concrete.”
Jerzy Dudek, a well-known, former professional player in Poland and current UEFA Ambassador, attended the grand opening of the field. “I played on grassy, asphalt, uneven and dangerous pitches. It certainly created our characters, but as I look at this new pitch it makes me want to be young again,” he said.
Under its global giving platform ‘FedEx Cares’, FedEx has pledged to invest $200 million in more than 200 communities by the year 2020. The “Field in a Box™” program is an example of such an investment, where FedEx is collaborating with the UEFA Foundation for Children and global charity streetfootballworld on community projects that aim to use football as a platform for delivering social change. Mrągowo is the second community to receive a professional football field. Cañada Real, an impoverished neighborhood near Madrid, Spain, received a field in 2016, and the community has experienced a renewed sense of pride and responsibility.
“Football has a proven ability to bring people together and change lives. We’re grateful that organizations like FedEx, who are affiliated with football at a professional level, extend their support to the football for good movement and recognize, not just the need, but the potential for projects like ‘Field in a Box™’ to impact young people in communities like Mrągowo,” said Dr. Vladimir Borkovic, network director, streetfootballworld.
Read more about FedEx UEFA Europa League sponsorship at fedex.com/UEL