Distance Football

Andrea Lilli
24 March 2021


An original experience of resilience and creativity in VET during the covid-19 pandemic

We are glad to share this news from a Salesian vocational training centre in San Lazzaro, Bologna, Italy (member of our DBWAVE partner CNOS-FAP).

In February, we invented a new way to play football, which is also an pedagogical response to the present Covid Emergency situation: a response that wants to stress on resilience to difficulties against the feelings of desperation that we are all experiencing in this critical moments. This is the basis of the Anti-Covid FOTBALL: a small light that shines in the darkness of the pandemic!

In the Salesian pedagogy model, the courtyard is the place where social relationships take place, where upbringing and education happen integrate and holistically direct to young people. Teaching does not only mean transmitting knowledge and notions, but also it means to teach young people to stay together, educate their spirit, train their hands, and doing all this with their heart.

In this period in which a substantial amount of distance learning has been carried out, the chance of having our students at school in presence has been very limited. We perceived students suffering from loneliness and social distancing, isolation and lack of relationships. We lived this situation with a sense of helplessness, demoralized, so we decided to react! 

We decided to use creativity and create a game to allow our students to be together with joy, which, as Don Bosco said, must never be missing, not even in these sad moments.

We didn’t expect to have so much success and so much resonance! We ended up in local newspapers; we were contacted by national radio and television. 

Ours is a simple idea, but at the moment there is a great need for small ideas to deal with unforeseeable situations so as not to give up!

We are happy to share it with all those school, education and sport institutions that want to imitate us. Anti-Covid FOOTBALL is a way of being together by playing football, the sport that our students play the most, a universal language that unites, creates friendships and relationships.

Ours is a team game that encourages team spirit by giving the opportunity to play even to those who have played very little football so far. It is a way to play that at the same time helps to improve the technical qualities of those who already good at football. 

The regulation provides for 7 players per team who can move freely within limited areas, without coming into contact with the other players: in this way the distance and the anti-contagion precautions are respected. Attackers and defenders periodically change roles and learn to play in different positions; the more you pass the ball, the more you learn to cooperate.

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