Defending Taiwan Football Premier League champions Tatung FC collaborated with the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders this weekend to organize a mini-soccer camp in Taipei for children with rare disorders to have a fun day learning about and playing soccer.
Tatung manager Chiang Mu-tsai led the camp, accompanied by team members including goalkeeper Derek Shih, midfielder Huang Chu-hsuan, Honduran defender Luis Fernando Galo and Japanese midfielder Hirokimi Harada.
The camp was held on Saturday at the indoor soccer pitch at Taipei Wanhua Sports Center. It was organized so that children living with rare disorders could interact with soccer stars and learn tips about the game, while generally having a good time running and kicking the ball around, the organizers said.
Photo courtesy of Tatung FC
“Our players are happy to instill a passion for soccer in these children. We hope to get them to play more outdoor sports in the sunshine, for their health and enjoyment,” Tatung chairman Tsai Chao-hsiang said.
Tsai said that as Tatung is the oldest continuous professionally organized soccer club in Taiwan, “we have received support and resources from society over the years, and we should give back to society.”
“This is a charitable program for a good cause, to work with kids with rare disorders, to inspire them and promote playing sports for their health,” he said.
Foundation deputy director Hung Yu-tai said that children who took part in the event have Apert syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, Williams syndrome, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome and Bloch-Sulzberger syndrome, among other conditions.
“These children have these health issues, some affecting their movement, and others lack resistance to infections, so most of the time they are left to stay at home,” Hung said.
“We are getting these children to come out and run around, and some are finding it fun to play soccer. At the same time, it can complement their physiotherapy regime and they are also getting some exercise, so it is a very good program,” Hung said.
Tatung players helped design the camp program to cater to the children’s specific needs, with activities to boost their muscle strength and balance training, while having fun playing a game that requires teamwork, the club said.
“These children ... become more active and energetic when playing with other children,” Tsai said. “We see they are having fun in a boisterous atmosphere, but we also need to care for their safety, so the program was designed for simple skill sets, for learning in basic soccer movements.”
Shih said he was moved during the event, “as one kid told me that he wants to become a goalkeeper.”
“Every child has the right to enjoy playing soccer, so I want to pass on my game skills and experience at these events, so more kids can enjoy the beautiful game of soccer,” he said.
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