Football coaches urge young people to follow healthy life

 Football coaches from four national associations urge young people to follow the best tactics for a healthy life: play more sport, eat nutritious food, limit or avoid alcohol intake, don’t smoke and keep a good work-life balance.

Football coaches urge young people to follow healthy life

Louis Van Gaal's #PlayWellFeelWell message to Europe's young people

What is UEFA’s new health campaign?

The #FeelWellPlayWell campaign will invite national coaches representing all 55 UEFA member associations to use their visibility and voices to encourage young people in their countries to make healthy choices early in life.

UEFA will ask coaches to support the campaign by recording a short video that explains the importance of playing sport, following a healthy diet, limiting or avoiding alcohol intake, not smoking and maintaining work-life balance. From December 2021, their associations will share the message with fans, grassroots clubs, coaches, schools, etc. through social media, websites and newsletters.

The campaign will culminate on World Health Day 2022 (7 April) with a special event organised by UEFA and its 55 member associations.

What is the focus of the campaign’s health messages?

Working with the Italian non-governmental organisation Fondazione Insieme Contro il Cancro (Together against Cancer Foundation), UEFA has provided coaches with educational messages to deliver through their videos. Based on the latest scientific knowledge and guidance, these focus on four health topics:

Physical activity


Mental health

Substance abuse, particularly alcohol and tobacco


Health and well-being are fundamental to sport, and UEFA promotes the benefits and importance of following active, healthy lifestyles by playing football. Our health and well-being policy is one of 11 underlying a new Responsibility pillar that the Executive Committee added to UEFA’s Together for the Future of Football strategy in April 2021.

UEFA recognises that football’s enormous popularity and influence brings a responsibility that the sport’s governing body cannot ignore: to serve as a role model and voice for positive change on global issues.

Michele Uva, Director of Football Social Responsibility, UEFA

"Preserving young people’s health matters more than ever, both on and off the pitch. UEFA wants to raise awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of playing football."

Who is supporting the campaign’s launch?

Coaches from four associations – Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Slovenia – have signed up to take part in a pilot phase of the campaign, which was launched on 12 October.

UEFA expects to expand Coaches for Health – #FeelWellPlayWell to involve all 55 football associations in Europe before the end of the year.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC)

Coaches for Health

"Be active and practice sport for at least 60 minutes every day. You will feel stronger, more dynamic and with more energy. Like true champions!"

Milena Bertolini, women’s senior team

"Did you know that what you eat affects your mood, your sleep quality and your attention levels? If you drink water and eat fresh unprocessed foods, you will bring out all your energy on and off the pitch."

How else does the FIGC use football to protect health?

The FIGC Youth and School Department (Settore Giovanile) uses its local development centres - Centri Federali Territoriali - and football schools to educate young players on health and well-being. Initiatives include:

Videos promoting healthy lifestyles and good habits for young people.

• WELL-BEING programme created by the FIGC with UEFA’s financial support in 2017, which provides educational materials for youth and school sector players, parents, coaches and sports clubs on nutrition, relationships and emotions as well as physical activity.

• Un Gol per la Salute (A Goal for Health): an annual competition run with UNICEF, in which 16–18 year-olds and their school teachers produce a video about protecting health. The top three entries attend a two-day course at the federation’s Coverciano technical centre in Florence.

Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB)

Coaches for Health

Louis Van Gaal, men’s senior team

"I have an important message for all young people. Too many youngsters are exercising too little which worries me. It feels good to be active. Even simple activities can make you healthy and strong. Play football. Go running. Climb the stairs at home! Stay active and move for 60 minutes every day."

Max Tjaden, men’s Futsal

"Playing sports, football, being active is good for your health, so we encourage everyone to be as active as possible. We also think it is important to pay attention to a healthy sports environment, whether it's field football or futsal, children or adults."

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