The city of Tocopilla is home to just over 24,000 residents, a small export city in one of the most Northern parts of Chile. Fishing and the extraction of saltpeter (commonly known as salt) frames the life of most common people.
One thing that has come out of the coastal city dubbed the ‘Devil’s Corner’ is Alexis Sanchez, and he hasn’t forgotten it.
Recently Sanchez decided that it was time to give back to the often over-looked place he grew up by buying two artificial pitches. He’s always been a good role-model for his country, but this is his biggest give back yet.
When asked about the motivation behind the two new fields, Sanchez was candid and authentic as ever.
“I built two football pitches because I wanted young kids to have a decent pitch to play on, because I didn’t have one when I was younger.”
“I’m lucky because I’ve had the opportunity to leave the country and play football, but it’s a small town and opportunities are not common.”
Sanchez, unlike other stars, seems to have embraced humility at a young age. When he made the jump from Udinese to Barcelona at the age of 20 he earned over €26 million and became the club’s first Chilean player.
Pep Guardiola, who managed Barcelona at the time, had this to say about the young star,
“He can play in all three attacking positions, he shows intense defensive skills, he’s direct and from what I’ve been told, he’s a very nice kid.”
It’s not surprise that the ‘nice kid’ from Chile focuses his efforts on giving back to the other kids coming out of Tocopilla.
“I honestly believe that children are the most important thing in the world. They learn from adults and it’s very important to be good role models.”
“People can end up going down the wrong path with alcohol and drugs, and that’s bad news for kids. When I’m there I try to set up events where I play with the kids and try to boost them.”
“Every time I go I try to set up events and get gifts just to see the smiles on small children’s faces.”
Keep it up Alexis, the rest of the football world is smiling along with you and those kids.