BRASILIA — Over the past couple of years, Brazilian soccer playerda Silva Santos Júnior has risen through the ranks to become one of the most glamorous stars in the sport. The 25-year-old forward has dazzled fans with his uncanny playing ability that is the perfect mix of agility, precision and grace. This past year, Neymar scored 13 goals in 30 games for Barcelona in La Liga, and this offseason, Neymar joined Paris Saint-German for $222 million, becoming the most expensive transfer ever.
As spectacular as Neymar has been on the field, his contributions off the field have become just as inspiring. Neymar founded the Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. in 2014, located in the seafront city of Praia Grande, Brazil, where Neymar spent a majority of his childhood. According to the Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. website, “the project was designed by Neymar Jr. and his family, for understanding through knowledge and opportunities it is possible to transform the lives of countless families.”
The Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. is a complex that promotes physical activity. Since it was established, The Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. has served as a nonprofit civil society organization that has helped serve 2,400 children from the age of 7 to 17. The Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. serves under key principles to provide for these students, including contributing to the socio-educational growth of the families of the community of Praia Grande, promoting access to the practice of physical, educational, and cultural activities, and reaching the inclusion and the social responsibility of each citizen.
Neymar himself implemented The Net Football Program for the Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. with the hopes that the program would help educate children and young people with values through sports related to soccer. The Net Football Program flaunts four main values: commitment, discipline, respect and responsibility.
The purpose of the Net Football Program is to get the children of the Instituto Projecto Naymar Jr. to develop skills they can later apply to life. At the end of the day, it does not matter who wins or losses, rather it is more important to get every child involved, and show it can be fun to exercise.
Recently, the Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr. was the host of Neymar’s second annual Neymar Jr’s Five on July 7 and 8, which draws national champions from 53 countries across six continents. According to the Redbull website, “more than 100,000 players have taken part in the second year of the tournament that has become a truly global phenomenon.”
The two-day event was filled with thrills and excitement, and eventually crowned Romania the champion after it defeated England one to zero. Although Romania celebrated the victory, the weekend only saw smiles and happiness from all players participating.
Neymar hopes to get a fresh start next season with his new team, PSG. However, it does not matter where he is, or who he plays for, as long as the Instituto Projecto Neymat Jr. is fully running and operational.
Speaking to ESPN in 2016, Neymar said, “The love I get from the kids, the conversations we have… it gives me strength to return to Barcelona and keep running after more trophies. It makes me really happy to do something for these kids and their families.”
– Patrick Greeley