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World Cup 2014: Chasing Soccer Balls and Dreams

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Bread for the World's World Cup series will use the occasion of the Cup to focus on the great advances many of the participating countries and players have made in fighting hunger and poverty. Each day, until the end of the tournament, we will highlight a country, or an individual player, that is making a difference.

By Bianca Brown

Friday, July 4: Brazil v. Columbia

As the World Cup approaches the quarter finals, today’s match between Brazil and Columbia is sure to be a demonstration of talent, strategy, and love of the game. Having won 15 matches so far, Dante, one of the stars of Brazil's squad, has said that the team is looking forward to the next game, and hopes to advance to the semifinals. With two wins, including one tough victory over Uruguay, Columbia has key player Carlos Sanchez to thank for many of the team’s game-changing tactics in the tournament.

Dante_Bonfim_Costa_SantosThe determination both men have displayed on the field can also be seen in their work to help people escape hunger and poverty.  

Dante, a center back for Brazil, first began playing soccer on the cobbled streets of Salvador. “Childhood in Salvador was tough…but through football I have been able to give a good life to my family. I am glad I have worked so hard for this and I had a chance to be a better person and help many people,” Dante said in a recent interview.  He supports several charities and organizations that are working to end hunger and poverty, including a campaign to help children’s villages in Brazil. Several other players on the team have also experienced hunger and poverty firsthand, and are working with programs in Brazil that address these problems.

Sanchez, a defensive midfielder for Columbia, was raised in poverty in a small city in the northwest part of the country. “There wasn’t always enough food to put a meal on the table at the end of the day,” he has said. Sanchez would often spend hours playing soccer not only to improve his skills, but to help him ignore hunger pains. Today, Sanchez supports UNICEF and its efforts to help end hunger and poverty in Columbia.

Both Dante and Sanchez are working to create a world where no one is hungry, and all children are free to chase not only soccer balls, but their dreams.

Photo: Dante, playing in a 2013 match. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

« ‘Not Called to Win; Just to be Faithful’ World Cup 2014: "Citizens suffering from extreme poverty and hunger can be liberated.” »

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