LaLiga Genuine Santander
During the first weekend of July, the city of Daytona, Florida, is going to host the Daytona Soccer Fest. This event, scheduled for the United States’ Independence Day weekend (4th of July), will be a unique experience, one that aims to bring together world-class entertainment, professional and inclusive football and many other surprises in one iconic location in the North American country, a city known for its annual Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway.
In this mythical setting, the 'Original Challenge' project has been born, an initiative that will revolutionise the world of football: a three-way contest between two LaLiga Genuine Santander teams, Gimnàstic de Tarragona and Fundació Barça, as well as local side Orlando City, with all these teams made up of players with intellectual disabilities.
This is the first time that two LaLiga Genuine Santander teams will travel to the United States to play an exhibition match. With this in mind, LaLiga wanted to join in and provide support to the two travelling squads for this unprecedented experience, one that could be replicated in other countries with other teams in the future.
As well as the sporting events, on the morning of the 2nd of July there will be a series of round tables, where there will be a broad discussion on how different organisations, sporting bodies, clubs and companies can work to improve inclusion for this group through everyday activities, with some of the panels focusing on integration through sport in general and through football in particular.
Olga de la Fuente, the director of FUNDACIÓN LaLiga (LaLiga’s Foundation), will share information with the other attendees about LaLiga Genuine Santander, which has been an inclusive and pioneering initiative in the world ever since it was developed by LaLiga through its Foundation. It consists of an official football league that is made up of teams of people with intellectual disabilities and it already has more than 1,300 players participating.
The round tables, which will take place in the Daytona Speedway press conference room, will begin at 12:00 noon and end at 13:30, which is when the sporting events are scheduled to begin.