When Ana María was young, girls and women were not supposed to play football. Only as a teenager could she start playing the sport she loves. Today she has her own sports school for underprivileged children in a neighbourhood in Medellín where she is from. Because of her own experience, she makes sure to include girls in the training.


Ana María opened her own sport school called Atalanta in 2021 and despite the pandemic, within a year over 100 children could benefit from her and her fellow coaches’ activities. She is also employed by Medellín Nacional, a professional football club, where she coaches one of the girl’s youth teams.

Ana María

Project: Young Coach Education Colombia (July 2015 – March 2016) and Follow-up (April 2022)

Parent Organization: Asociación Deportiva Barrio Castilla Medellín

Born: 1996
Nationality: Colombia

Project Colombia | Facts
Peer Young Coaches
Benefiting Children


“When I was young, I didn’t have the possibility to attend football practices. Only at the age of 13 could I start playing football, because in the community they have the believe that sport – and football specifically – are not for girls and women. It is good that things have changed a lot, but we as women need to open the door for girls. For me, it is thus very important to include girls in my trainings.

Before my first experience with the Scort Foundation, I didn’t have any formal education in working with children. During the first education, I learnt some tools about inclusion and gender equality for girls and women. Before that I didn’t know anything about it. The tools were very effective because it’s not only theory but a practice, something real I can implement in my neighbourhood.

So after the Young Coach Education, I could understand how the children live in a particular way and I can create more empathy for them. Because for the children it’s not just the sports activity, but the space – in this space, they can share personal things, for example if they have problems within the family. And that can be very helpful for them. So this is why I got motivated to get more and more involved with children.

I now have a sport project in Medellin with boys and girls. We have 9 coaches in this club who work with 120 children from the age of 4 to 16. We need to consider that it is a very dangerous neighbourhood, and there are big social problems. So, to get the children from the neighbourhood to participate is very important for the social change in the community. If the children get to participate in sport, they stay away from the gangs.

At our school, we want to find a balance between social values and techniques and everything that you need to play well. To foster the social impact, we choose a different social skill for every month. Before and after the practice, they have some discussions about social values. For example, if the value is respect, the discussions are about respect and the coaches talk about the importance of respect inside the field, during the practice, but also in life in general.

I now realise that this, sports, is a very important field, and that me as well as other young leaders, other Young Coaches, are great examples, and that sport is really powerful.”


Young Coaches

Our Young Coaches are community leaders and role models in less privileged societies. They commit themselves to support the children of their communities by conveying important social topics (conflict resolution, inclusion, HIV prevention, etc.) through football. Each of the Young Coaches represents a unique personal story.