More Than Soccer

Marie Le Page: “Our Aim is to inspire young people through sporting activities and teach them the skills and confidence that will help them change their life”

Soccerplus talked to Marie Le Page, Director of Play for Change, a foundation that works hard from London to improve the lives of children around the world, through sporting actions. And they already have one foot in Miami.

This is their story…

1. What is Play for Change?
Play for Change is dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable children through the power of sport. We want to see a world where all children are equipped with the life skills that they need for their future and we believe that sport can play a significant role in a child’s social, cognitive, emotional and physical development. At Play for Change we combine sporting, life skills and coaching programs so children can play, learn and develop.

2. What do you wish other people knew about (the Non-profit)?
Play is not just for fun. It is absolutely crucial for a child’s development. There is an abundance of research on the positive effects of play on early childhood development (“ECD” – birth to 8 years old). Strong links have been demonstrated between creative play and language, and physical, cognitive and social development. Play is a precursor to a child’s ability to get involved in formal team sports and education.

3. Who are some of your most notable partners?
We work with a number of partners the world over to fund and to implement projects. In addition to Miami FC we work with a number of influential partners and donors such as EHF (European Handball Federation) and Jupiler Pro League in Europe and a number of very talented local partners such as GAN (Global Action Nepal) and Reach and Teach who help us structure and deliver our programmes.

4. Tell us about the soccer programs you are working on developing in the U.S. with the Miami Football Club.
We are currently working on developing the “Kick It” program. A soccer initiative that is committed to help young people in underserved communities, by supporting community soccer-based youth development programs in the area. The programs will be supporting children development an active and healthy lifestyle while development their personal growth through trained coaches/mentors. We are partnering with local communities to create cost-effective, long-term initiatives that meet each community’s youth-development needs and provide safe environments where kids thrive.

Marie Le Page, Director of Play for Change, said “We are thrilled to be partnering with Miami FC who will be actively taking part in helping to enrich more young people’s lives with new experiences. Enabling opportunities for vulnerable young people to access sport is invaluable for developing confidence, skills and knowledge”.

“We rebuild playgrounds so children can play in safe and stimulating environments away from harm; we provide workshops so children learn the life skills they need for happy and healthy futures”

“Our sports and media network is full of inspirational people and the programme provides fantastic exposure to the world of sport, community development and female empowerment”

“Estamos encantados al asociarnos con el Miami Football Club quien activamente tomara parte en ayudar a enriquecer la vida de más personas jóvenes a través de nuevas experiencias”

Marie Le Page, Director de Play for Change

Where: Miami, Belgium, UK, Italy, Bali and Nepal and looking
at expanding our reach in Europe and Asia.
How many: PFC has reached over 4,000 children.

Marie Le Page
Career: Commercial strategy and business management – both in the corporate world and in the non-profit sector. As Director, she is responsible for the quality and growth of Play for Change and for designing programmes which deliver measurable social impacts for children and young people.

Experience: PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Entreprises, The World Bank/IFC and WWF Italy.

Sports: water sports addict. When not on the water, Marie is a cycling enthusiast and has recently cycled up Mont Ventoux.