In Cazucá dreams come true through football

Published: 2019-05-08 Time: 7:51

Tiempo de Juego was part of this year’s SKF Meet the World in Colombia. Football plays an important role in the players everyday life in Cazucá, a poor neighborhood in Bogotá.

”We have about 600 children here at the sports center – it’s about providing something constructive to do outside of school”, says David Osorio, sports director in Tiempo de Juego.

Cazucá is a neighborhood in Bogotá where a lot of people from rural areas of Colombia ended up when escaping the violence for a safer life in the city. It may not be one of the financially most strong parts of the city, but its filled with hopes and dreams, which is tangible as we visit Tiempo de Juego at their outdoor sports center. that is packed with children from the neighborhood playing soccer, basketball, and practicing track and field.

”We offer activities for the kids here every day, and typically we receive about 200 children on a weekday”, David Osorio says.

But that is nothing compared to how an average weekend can look like, when children gather to participate in the different activities – which all are completely free of charge.

”On a weekend we usually have about 600 children here. It’s about giving them an opportunity to exercise and conduct physical activities”, David Osorio says.

The vision of the non profit organisation is about far more than sports.

”Tiempo de Juego is about providing and living up to certain values, such as breaking gender stereotypes. And it’s about developing leadership skills and confidence in the children”, David Osorio says.

David should know. He arrived to Cazucá all alone, as an eleven year old drug addict, after a 15 hour bus ride from a small town in Antioquía, escaping the threat to either join FARC or being killed by the paramilitaries. Once in Bogotá, Tiempo de Juego became David’s safe place.

”Tiempo de Juego had just started when I arrived. At this time it was a small scale operation and we were only 25 kids participating in the soccer classes. I got hooked immediately, as soon as school ended I rushed to the football pitch. I didn’t have a lot to eat back then so I went without food in my system, but the way I saw it soccer was my nutrition.”

David quickly got more engaged in the now fast growing organisation.

”At 13 years old I was already leading some classes. I will never forget the feeling when the younger children called me ”coach”. It made me feel that I had a purpose. I truly believe Tiempo de Juego saved me”.

Now, in 2019, David is one of the more senior leaders in what is now a large and impressive operation offering much more than just soccer and sports. The vision however remains the same. 

”For me, what we do is to help children to make their dreams come true”, David Osorio says.

Making dreams come true is also what SKF Meet the World is all about. Every year 20 pre-tournaments to Gothia Cup are played around the world, where the winning team gets a ticket to Gothia Cup in Gothenburg in July, the world’s largest meeting place for youth.

Tiempo de Juego didn’t manage to go all the way this year, competing against twelve other Bogotá teams. But their hopes and dreams stays alive at the streets of Cazucá, playing football for a better future.

SKF Meet the world

SKF Meet the world are pre-tournaments to Gothia Cup, played in 20 countries, where SKF has local offices, every year. Since the start in 2007, 240 Meet the world tournaments have been played, in 43 countries, with around 30 000 players. The winning teams from each country receives a fully paid trip to Gothenburg and participation in Gothia Cup.