Glasgow – July, 25, 2012
The Spanish Olympic football team took time out from their pre-Games preparations yesterday to spend an afternoon with participants of the local Laureus-supported 'Street League' programme in Glasgow.
The team invited the group from Street League to their base at the Marriott hotel in Glasgow to spend the afternoon sharing experiences in the athlete's lounge as a way of 'giving back' to the community where they will play their opening Olympic football match.
Following a session discussing the Spanish team's chances of adding Olympic Gold to their recent Euro 2012 and World Cup successes, the Spanish Olympic Team players signed autographs in the Souvenir Programmes provided by the Royal Spanish Football Federation as well as items the excited participants has brought with them for the occasion.
The afternoon culminated in an exchange of gifts - Street League presented the Spanish Team with a signed Saltire, while the Spanish Team presented signed shirts and footballs to the Scottish youngsters.
At the end of the session Joe Malcolmson - one of the Street Leagues Coaches - said: "This was the opportunity of a lifetime... A dream come true." Whilst Brian Lennox, also of Street League, described the effect the day had on the Street League football lovers. He said: "The boys were absolutely buzzing on the way home and the experience had a real impact on them."
But it wasn’t just the youngsters who found the visit a rewarding one. Manchester United Goalkeeper David de Gea was keen to say: "It's been great to meet the local youth, here in Glasgow. A great opportunity."
Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Juan Mata said: "It was very nice for us, I think it is a great thing for life to play football and have an open door to work in other things and for us it is very good."
Clearly with one eye looking ahead to the Olympics, Juan Mata said: "I think we are at the best moment in our history. We have won the European Cup, the World Cup and now we have the opportunity to win a medal here at the Olympic games - and we wish to win."