Football legends join forces with AFDP Global to help people and communities in need
Gérard Houllier, Karina LeBlanc and Robert Pires become the first ambassadors of AFDP Global - the international social enterprise that transforms lives through football
AFDP Global, the international football social enterprise, is proud to announce that today (5 March 2019) three renowned football stars have been appointed as the organisation’s first ambassadors.
Gérard Houllier is an eminent French football manager and former player. In an illustrious managerial career, Houllier enjoyed six successful years at Liverpool, leading the club to a famous FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup treble in 2001. The repertoire of historic clubs managed by Houllier includes the French national side, Paris Saint-Germain, Aston Villa, Olympique Lyonnais and Lens.
Karina LeBlanc has the distinguished honour of being Canada’s longest serving international soccer player. Over a prestigious 18-year international career, LeBlanc represented her country in five FIFA World Cups, two Olympic Games and two Pan American Games. A prominent goalkeeper in the US Professional Soccer Leagues, LeBlanc played for nine clubs and in many championship games, winning with the Portland Thorns. LeBlanc was a member of the history-making Canadian team who won a Bronze Medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her heroics in the 2011 Pan Am Games – stopping two penalties in the final – helped to secure a momentous team Gold for Canada. With 110 international appearances, LeBlanc was the beating heart of a Canada team that changed the face of football in North America. She is also a UNICEF Canada ambassador and was recently appointed Head of Women’s Football for Concacaf.
Robert Pires is a French football star and current professional coach, whose remarkable legacy as a player is known the world over. Pires was a key member of an unforgettable Arsenal side, that won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles and were coined ‘The Invincibles’ for their dominant, unbeaten season in 2003–04. An outstanding professional for 22 years, Pires was also a talisman for France, Metz, Marseille and Villareal. In his eight-year international career, Pires earned 79 caps for France, winning both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 UEFA European Championship. He is as an Ambassador for Arsenal, La Liga, The Premier League and Puma.
As ambassadors, Gérard, Karina and Robert will play an invaluable role in promoting the work and vision of the newly-formed international social enterprise, which aims to unite and transform communities around the world through football.
Spearheaded by His Royal Highness Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, himself an influential figure in world football, AFDP Global delivers long-lasting social impact through football by funding specific initiatives, making equipment donations and providing other material support. AFDP Global also provides expert management and guidance to develop football and protect its values.
Commenting on the appointment of AFDP Global’s first ambassadors, JF Cecillon, CEO, said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to announce Gérard Houllier, Karina LeBlanc and Robert Pires as our first ambassadors. Myself and the AFDP Global team are deeply thankful that they agreed to help us develop our social enterprise worldwide. All three individuals have a unique authority in the world of football and really exemplify our belief that football can be a force for good in any part of the world. This is a perfect start for AFDP Global’s Ambassador Community and I look forward to working together with Karina, Gérard and Robert this year and in the future to carry our message around the world and bring hope to communities in need.”
Gérard Houllier said: “I have known HRH Prince Ali for many years and have always been greatly impressed by his unwavering commitment to tackling injustice in football and using football to help improve people’s lives. It’s a real pleasure to join with AFDP Global to help drive forward Prince Ali’s lifetime ambition and create a better future for children and young people through football.”
Karina LeBlanc said: “It is an honour for me to be an ambassador for AFDP Global. I have seen first hand the power of our game and how our sport can change and save lives. Whenever I am able to combine my passion with my purpose, I feel alive. Being a part of AFDP Global is something that truly excites me and I know what we will accomplish by having a positive impact around the world through football. As an athlete I always wondered how I would use my platform as a footballer to do good in this world, and this is a great way to do that. I am looking forward to the great things to come.”
Robert Pires said: “As a professional player, football gave me a unique joy that comes from competition, camaraderie and playing for dedicated fans who love the game. I look forward to working with AFDP Global to give back to football and to help share HRH Prince Ali’s vision that football is a powerful force that shapes characters and teaches young people about the values of team work and the importance of taking on responsibility.”