The Cruyff Athlete Fund will award scholarships to eight athletes in the 2024-25 academic year

June 24, 2024

The Cruyff Athlete Fund will award scholarships to eight athletes in the 2024-25 academic year

Andrea Vilaró (basketball); Maria Pitarch (archery); Lucila Venegas (soccer); Maria Echezarreta Fernandez (soccer); Alejandro Velazco (handball); Carla Ubasart (judo); Jordi Deumal Torroella (handball) and Marc Miralles (field hockey) are the athletes awarded scholarships by Johan Cruyff Institute to train in sport management through The Cruyff Athlete Fund.

During the 2024-25 academic year, eight international athletes will join the classrooms of Johan Cruyff Institute thanks to The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship. The aim of this initiative is to promote the transition of professional athletes to the world of management through academic training, as part of Johan Cruyff Institute’s CSR.

This initiative is linked to Johan Cruyff’s vision, and is a way to perpetuate his legacy of developing the sports industry with professionals with a dual career, which includes both experience on the playing field and a solid academic background. For athletes, it is an excellent opportunity to take a further step in their career, both during their active career and after retirement.

This is the sixth edition since The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship fund was launched. Johan Cruyff Institute will welcome the following athletes to the Master in Sport Business Online (focused on sport management), the Master in Football Business Online, the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management Online, and the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship Online:

 


Andrea Vilaro

Andrea Vilaro Aragones (31 years old, Spain). Professional basketball player trained at Club Bàsquet Universitari de Barcelona and Segle XXI. Her sporting achievements include winning the Spanish leagues (2020-21, 2021-22), the Queen’s Cups (2020, 2022) and a Spanish Supercup (2020-21) with Perfumerías Avenida. Internationally, she won a gold medal at the 2019 European Championship with the Spanish national team. “Receiving a scholarship from Johan Cruyff Institute is yet another challenge in my sporting and academic career. An exciting journey that will surely provide me with valuable learning for my future.”, says Andrea. Full scholarship for the Master in Sport Business Online – Specialization in Sport Management.


Maria Pitarch

Maria Pitarch (24 years old, Spain). Archer from Vespella de Gaià who works at Club de Tir amb Arc Caldes de Montbui. Among her sporting achievements she counts silver team medal at the World Field Championships in 2022, as well as bronze at the European Youth Championships (2018) and the World Archery Youth Championships (2019). “Receiving this scholarship is an honor and a unique opportunity. I am deeply grateful and excited for the possibility to continue my education at Johan Cruyff Institute. My goal is to make the most of this experience to make a significant contribution to the development of sport, especially in those lesser-known sports that have a lot of potential for growth. Having this opportunity is a great boost to my sporting and professional career”, she says. Full scholarship for the Master in Sport Business Online – Specialization in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.


Lucila Venegas

Lucila Venegas (43 years old, Mexico). She has been an international Mexican soccer referee since 2008, when she became a FIFA official. In 2017, Venegas was the first woman to referee a Liga MX Femenil final and later represented Mexico at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. She also acted as referee at the Olympic and Pan American Games. In 2017, she received the 2017 Concacaf Award in the Referee of the Year category.  “This scholarship will help me to step up and add to my career, which was actually wonderful but is now over. I want to achieve to be at a respectable professional level, to see soccer from another perspective. I want to have a positive influence on soccer, to leave a legacy that will benefit many”, says Lucila. Full scholarship for the Master in Football Business Online.


María

María “Cheza” Echezarreta Fernández (Spain, 22 years old). She is a Spanish soccer player trained in the youth categories of C. D. Femiastur and Real Oviedo Femenino. She plays as a goalkeeper in the Liga Profesional de Fútbol Femenino (LPFF) in Costa Adeje Tenerife. She is also an international with Spain’s women’s national soccer team in its youth categories. “It is an honor to receive this scholarship. This Master’s Degree will allow me to continue growing personally and professionally. I will take this opportunity to continue to grow my business and meet people with similar goals and objectives”, she says. Full scholarship for the Master in Sport Business Online – Specialization in Sport Management.


Alejandro Velazco

Alejandro Velazco (Uruguay, 30 years old). He is a handball player who currently plays for the Colegio Alemán club. He is an international player with the Uruguayan national handball team. Among his achievements, he won the bronze medal in the South and Central American Men’s Handball Championship (2020). He also won bronze at the South American Games (2022).”Receiving this scholarship in sports management represents a unique and valuable opportunity, I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and I am committed to make the most of every experience and resource provided to me, with the goal of making a positive difference in the world of sport”, says Alejandro. Scholarship for the Master in Sport Business Online – Specialization in Sport Management.


Carla Ubasart

Carla Ubasart (Spain, 29 years old). She is a judoka trained at Club Judo Getafe. She currently resides at the High Performance Center and is a member of the Spanish Judo National Team in the -57kg category. She won gold at the Sarajevo European Open in 2022 and silver at the Warsaw European Open in 2022. “Thank you for the opportunity, I receive the news with great enthusiasm and desire. Being able to learn with one of the most prestigious centers in the sports field and with my experience as an athlete, I am sure I will be prepared to contribute my bit in the world of sports management,” says Carla. Full scholarship for the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management Online.


Jordi Deumal Torroella

Jordi Deumal Torroella (Spain, 31 years old). He is a handball player trained in Handbol Palautordera. He also played for BM La Roca and Barça B. Since 2017 he plays in France, in the club Saran Loiret Handball. Parallel to his sports career, Jordi is an Industrial Engineer graduated from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). “Thank you very much for this amazing opportunity. Receiving The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship is a privilege for my post-career development and future projects. I can’t wait to start the program”, he says. Full scholarship for the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management Online.


Marc Miralles

Marc Miralles (Spain, 26 years old). He is a field field hockey player trained in CD Terrassa. He currently plays for the Dutch club Hoofdklasse Bloemendaal and the Spanish national team. In 2017, Miralles won bronze with the Spanish under-21 national team at the EuroHockey Junior Championship. He was voted best player of the 2021-2022 MGS League while playing for Real Club de Polo Barcelona.
“Receiving this scholarship represents a unique opportunity to continue training in the two areas I am most passionate about while I continue to develop my sports career.”, says Marc. Partial scholarship of 50% for the Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.

Scholarships Fund

The Cruyff Athlete Fund

Our founder, Johan Cruyff, had a strong desire to enable athletes to develop their dual careers and make a successful transition from sport to the business world after their retirement from professional sport. He considered athletes to be the best people to lead sports organizations, as they understand the specifics of sport and thus defend the values of sport in business to the utmost. At Johan Cruyff Institute we put our commitment to Johan’s belief and legacy into practice through our CSR program The Cruyff Athlete Fund.

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