Murat Ülker met the soccer players of the future

The TFF-Ülker Soccer Villages, held this year in 4 provinces – Sinop, Gümüşhane, Bolu and Karabük Ovacık - by the Turkish Soccer Federation, with the support of Ülker, hosted 400 children. Yıldız Holding CEO Murat Ülker, Turkish Soccer Federation Vice-President Lütfi Arıboğan, Board Member in Charge of National Teams M. Cüneyt Tanman and Soccer General Director Ersun Yanal visited the Bolu camp of Soccer Villages, one of the most important projects carried out by Ülker, in conjunction with TTF, and met with the children there.

The Soccer Villages project, which is part of the Soccer is for Everyone program and is carried out by the General Directorate of the Turkish Soccer Federation and sponsored by Ülker, is preparing talented young soccer players for the future. Since 2007, a total of $5 million has invested in the Soccer is for Everyone (HİF) program, which has reached more than 220,000 children. The Bolu Girls’ Village, which is one of the pillars of the Soccer Villages included in the project, hosted talented soccer players as well as important guests.

Yıldız Holding CEO Murat Ülker, TFF Vice-President  Lütfi Arıboğan, Board Member in Charge of National Teams M. Cüneyt Tanman and Soccer General Director Ersun Yanal were guests of the children for the purpose of supporting the project.

Murat Ülker: “We value sports and projects for children”

Yıldız Holding
CEO Murat Ülker, who spoke at the “Ülker-Happy Moment” hour held for the children’s entertainment at the village, had this to say: “I congratulate all of your for spending your time and energy on sports during your vacation. You should continue to do sports in the winter, too, at school and make sports a lifestyle.  Soccer is one of my favorite sports but when I was your age, we didn’t have the chance to play soccer or engage in other sports. There weren’t very many sports facilities. It was fun to play on the street or empty lots but let me tell you that when I saw your facilities and the opportunities you have, I wish I had had the same. I’m also very happy for you. I think you are all incredibly talented. I believe that the sports you do here and the perspiration you work up will be of great value to you in the future. When you set out in the world in the future, everything you have learned here will be of great use to you. Participating in sports will always give you the upper hand.”

After the visit, saying that he was quite moved by the chat he had with the children and the training program at the facilities and that they greatly valued investing in projects designed for children, Mürat Ülker made this announcement:

“For years, we have played a part in sports through soccer and basketball. Through various projects, we have been trying to reach children, who are the future of sports in Turkey, with direct messages and multidimensional instruction. By joining forces with the Turkish Soccer Federation, we are making an effort to train good sports fans. Through the Soccer for Everyone program, which we have sponsored for 5 years, we have reached more than 220,000 children. We place great value on infrastructure and, most importantly, on active generations that love sports.”

Murat Ülker: “This project teaches our children fair play at an early age. It provides them with instruction in balanced diets and in activities like chess and drama, which can be used both on the field and throughout life. It also introduces them to socialization, an active life and balanced nutrition.  Through this program, we provide a productive assessment of the potential of our country and expand the pool of talent. We take special pride in children who emerge from these villages and become part of the national team infrastructure. This year, our top executives went to the other villages in Sinop, Gümüşhane, and Karabük and met with our children, and made observations so as to develop the project even further.”

Through the training program carried out by the experts at the TFF-Ülker soccer villages, young athletes not only develop their skills in soccer but also discover the camaraderie, chivalry and solidarity that are the essence of soccer, and, accompanied by instructors, participate in such entertaining activities as watching games and watching movies.

Lutfi Arıboğan “We are shaping the future of soccer”

TFF Vice-President Lutfi Arıboğan
, indicating that they shaped the future of soccer through children’s soccer projects, such as the TFF-Ülker Soccer Villages, said, “We  have created a large budget, not simply for professional soccer, but also for grassroots and the other sub-brands of soccer. We aim at raising the number of licensed soccer players from 225 thousand to 500 thousand in 3 years. Our main sponsors are devoting resources not only to our national team, but also to organizations and leagues set up to develop soccer. Since 2007, Ülker has gotten some great, unique projects off the ground in children’s soccer. Together, we are shaping the future of soccer.”

He continued, “The activities we have organized for children as part of the “Soccer for Everyone” program matter a lot in terms of what Arıboğan says.  Along with our soccer centers, which continue all year round, our main goals with such seasonal projects as the TFF-Ülker Soccer Village is raising conscious sports fans. The instruction geared toward the personal development of children at the Soccer Villages, which are entering their 5th year, is at least as important as soccer training. Children coming from different places both socialize and learn to express themselves. When you speak to our children, you can see how their experiences at the Soccer Villages have changed them and their enthusiasm. This, too, demonstrates just how successful our project is.”

Lutfi Arıboğan added, “There are players who have been trained through this project who are not on national youth teams. This, too, shows the great contribution Soccer Villages are making in the training of professional soccer players.”