Enel Cup: 20 years dreaming big

Published on Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Content uploaded to social media in 2020

The beginnings

After lighting different courts in the Metropolitan Region as part of the "Recovery of Public Spaces" program, in 2002, the idea arose to give new uses to these spaces. Under the name "Copa Chilectra", baby soccer tournaments for boys and volleyball tournaments for girls were seen as an opportunity for actual social participation, both by the company and municipalities. A space for family gatherings and healthy competition, where boys and girls have the chance to encounter sports at a professional level.

First "Chilectra Cup" in 2002

“We started this project with almost nothing, only with what we knew. We liked soccer, but we never organized any tournament. During this process, we had to create a "Football Commission," where we met every Tuesday to analyze weekend matches and other complexities. We started as amateurs. Still, today it is a professional project from every point of view.”

– says Segundo

Over the years, the tournament has undergone significant transformations. One of those changes was deciding to include the women's baby soccer tournament, which was initially a volleyball tournament, and also make changes to the final prize.

On the left, the Cerro Navia commune, winners of the 2009 women's team cup final. On the right, match of the 2014 tournament

The first big step was to travel to Spain to face Real Madrid's youth team in a friendly match. Later, with the arrival of the Italian company Enel, the venue for the award changed to Milan to face Inter, where Iván Zamorano, one of our Cup's prominent supporters from the beginning, also celebrated a large part of his professional career.

On the left match against Inter Milan in 2016. On the right, trip to Madrid, Spain in 2011

Because of its impact at the local level, the Enel Cup is considered the most influential children's soccer tournament in our country. Several children who played in the tournament are now in professional soccer. Jeisson Vargas and Pablo Aránguiz play for Universidad de Chile, Branco Provoste, midfielder of Club Deportivo Ñublense or Colo Colo player Jordhy Thompson, among many others.

Expansion to other regions

With the Cup's success during its first years, the idea of taking the event beyond the capital did not take long to arrive. Thus, children from other areas of Chile, such as the municipalities of San Clemente, Colbún, Concepción, Lota, Coronel, and Mejillones, have also had the opportunity to compete.

The city of Calama, which entered the championship in 2019, was the last to lift the Cup that year with the men's team, being the first region to win the trophy. The women's cup was won by the Lo Prado commune.

Enel Cup Final 2019

For Segundo, children witnessing the tournament's professionalism feeds the dream of becoming professionals in the future. "We take care of all the planning, program trips, transportation from the airport, then to the hotel, we treat them like professionals, and they feel that way. It has been very satisfying to make it possible for boys and girls who otherwise would never have the chance to travel to Milan".

On the left trip to Venice of winning teams, on the right arrival in Milan, year 2017

An alliance that has remained throughout the 20 years of the Cup is with the Iván Zamorano Foundation. For this reason, the historic captain of the Chilean national team participates in the tournament's activities and even travels with the finalists to Italy.

As a representative of Enel, Segundo participated in the last trip in February 2020. He remembers that "before entering the stadium when Iván Zamorano got off the bus with the boys, they saw how the Inter fans greeted him, took pictures with him, sang songs to him, and didn't let him walk. That's when they realized what an idol he is".

During those trips, in a country so far away, the children saw another side of soccer, one with first-class infrastructure, with museums full of triumphs and stadiums larger than they had imagined from TV. They saw the place where a Chilean just like them had scored and succeeded with much effort and perseverance. It was a place where they also dreamed of reaching.

"They see world-class players training. They allow the kids to come in and take pictures with them when the game is over. I think it's priceless for them. They all want to be professional soccer players", says Segundo, who hopes "to get out of this pandemic situation and be able to face future challenges with the Cup".