Santiago, September 27, 2019 – With the presentation of the new championship anthem and a ball skill demonstration 200 meters above the ground, Iván Zamorano opened the 2019 Copa Enel: a prestigious sporting contest launched 18 years earlier in 2001, and which has since taken its place as the country’s leading children’s soccer tournament, providing growth and personal development opportunities for more than 100,000 young Chileans over the years.
The event held at the helipad on the Torre Titanium building featured Iván Zamorano, Copa Enel ambassador since the tournament’s beginnings and past captain of the Chilean soccer team, as well as Sports Minister Pauline Kantor and Ramón Castañeda, CEO of Enel Distribución. Together with a number of national soccer stars such as Diego Rivarola invited to a table football game, the guests were able to enjoy a range of ballgames and admire the Sansiro collection of historic soccer shirts, worn by such stars as Pelé, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi.
This year, the tournament for children aged 13 to 15 will for the first time include games held in Calama, a city with a strong soccer pedigree and hometown of major Chilean players such as Víctor Merello, Rodrigo Pérez, and Héctor Puebla. This year thus marks the first time that the Copa Enel will include activities held in four sections of Chile, from the desert north to the verdant south: Antofagasta Region, the Greater Santiago Metropolitan Region, Maule Region, and Biobío Region.
“We at Enel are proud to be able to make a contribution to the development of youth sport. The past seventeen Copa Enel tournaments have cemented the event’s position as the first step on the pathway to a professional soccer career for both male and female players, and we certainly hope to continue with it, particularly now that the tournament is coming of age and growing with each year that passes, particularly in terms of scope, with a new region joining this year - Antofagasta - thus garnering us presence in the north, south, and center of our country,” said Ramón Castañeda, CEO of Enel Distribución.
“We at the Ministry of Sport hugely value this soccer tournament organized by Enel, which has taken its place as a true tradition and an example of how public-private partnership can accrue benefits in the development of sport. We are also celebrating the many children who have played in the tournament over the past eighteen years and found an opportunity for social mobility, allowing them to take on sport as a fundamental part of their lives,” said Sports Minister Pauline Kantor.
These will be two months of intense competition, with the winners of each regional stage for boys and girls moving on to Concepción for two final days to duke it out. The semifinals in each category will be held on Saturday November 23, andthe following day the grand final will be played, selecting the 2019 boys’ and girls’ winning teams.
“Our marvelous dream is now turning 18 years old; at the start we had great hopes, but we never believed that we could become Chile’s number one championship. This tournament has been a major challenge, and one that we still hope to build even further. We have tried to help thousands of kids who want to make their footballing dreams come true, and at the same time we have promoted values that will make them not only tomorrow’s great professionals, but also great people,” said Copa Enel Ambassador Iván Zamorano.
Copa Enel, cradle of professional athletes
Over the previous 17 annual Copa Enel tournaments, a total of more than 100,000 children have taken part, finding in this contest a platform to launch a professional sporting career.
The children who took part in previous years’ tournaments have gone on to become members of the Chilean national team, Olympic medalists, and professional players, with hundreds playing in the youth divisions of major national clubs. These sports stars include:
Spirit of Copa Enel
This tournament - created by Enel Distribución - has worked with the Fundación Iván Zamorano, Ministry of Sport, SENDA, and UNICEF to provide the company’s social support services to 33 districts where it supplies electricity in Greater Santiago.
The championship is held on 8 sports grounds that were provided with lighting by Enel as part of its Public Space Recuperation Program, which has outfitted over 170 sports grounds in Greater Santiago, part of the company’s ongoing efforts to promote sports amongst young people.