This weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Danone Nations Cup World Final at Red Bull Arena. I cannot express how great of a program this is for kids ages 10-12 and encourage you to attend the event if you ever get the chance. It was a three day event, where kids from 32 different countries worked their butts off, and the results are finally in!
~I received complimentary tickets to attend the DNC 2017 to help facilitate this post. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~
First off, these kids may be young, but their talent is beyond measure. I never knew kids could be so talented. I mean every single game was entertaining. The kids had hustle, heart, true skill in the game of soccer, and they really pushed themselves. There’s no doubt in my mind I was watching at least a few future professional soccer players.
And I won’t make you wait until the end of this post to find out who the winners were. Mexico took the trophy for the boys division and Brazil took the trophy for the girls division. Congrats to those teams! (Just check out some of these official photos to see how hard these kids were playing.)
What really blew me away was that every team, no matter what ranking they were working to place, played their hearts out. If you knew you weren’t going to come in first, would you still give it your all? These teams did! All of the kids had true dedication to their countries and teammates, and the games were very inspiring to watch throughout the day.
But the DNC World Final wasn’t just a day of soccer games. We got to spend have some fun at the Activity Village right outside the arena. Every Danone brand was present with freebies, coupons, prizes, and games.
There were quite a few things the kids could do to enjoy the day, like a virtual reality penalty kick, the Danimals Ninja Challenge (obstacle course), photo opp with Spiderman, music, dancing, hula hoops, face painting, and there was even a dairy station to meet a real cow and also practice milking a cow (no, the kids didn’t practice on a real cow, but it looked pretty cool).
On top of that I got to attend the DNC press conference where the CEO of Danone, Emmanuel Faber, and the DNC US Ambassador, Abby Wambach, talked about what the DNC means to them and what they hope children will take from the experience.
Faber reiterated that the DNC is all about courage, believing in your dream, working hard to achieve that dream, excelling, be your best self, teamwork, fairness, and more. These are all characteristics he hopes the kids who participate in the tournament learn and continue to practice in their lives.
From Wambach, it’s easy to get inspired. She spoke about how as a kid she played in different nations, which gave her the opportunity to believe in bigger dreams and realize there’s something bigger than just her. There are different people in different countries with the same dream. Soccer is a universal language, so while we may not be able to communicate verbally, the game of soccer is no different.
This is something the kids who are participating in the DNC are starting to realize. Thirty two countries come together to play a single sport, and while they speak different languages and may not be able to communicate well, it’s completely different on the field.
One of the things that really hit home was when Wambach mentioned that “kids need to know how to fail.” My son hates losing. It’s win or lose, and he always wants to win. But failure is a part of life and gives us an opportunity to practice and come back stronger. If there’s no failure, there’s no room for improvement and I hope that my son will always find room for improvement, as should all of us, and especially our kids. Wambach didn’t always win and wasn’t always at the top, but those failures helped her to come back better than before.
Between all of the games, the activities and the press conference, it was a jammed packed day of family fun. I can only hope they’ll plan to host it in the US again in the future, so we can go back for a second time. Who knows? Maybe the next time the US hosts, my son will be playing.