Johan Cruyff Institute announces new scholarship athletes for The Cruyff Athlete Fund 2022-23

July 19, 2022

Johan Cruyff Institute announces new scholarship athletes for The Cruyff Athlete Fund 2022-23

Erik Noya (climbing), Robyn Johnson, Xavier Lleonart and Germán Herrero (field hockey), Emmanuel Ariwachukwu and Vanessa Ovando (football), Yunier Pérez (athletics) and Antonio Leo (taekwondo) are the athletes to be awarded scholarships by Johan Cruyff Institute to study sport management through The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship fund

In the next academic year 2022-23, Johan Cruyff Institute will incorporate into its classrooms eight international athletes who have been chosen to benefit from The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship fund. This initiative, aimed at helping professional athletes transition to the world of management through academic training, is one of the main pillars of Johan Cruyff Institute’s CSR program.

For the athletes, it is an unbeatable way to remain linked to the world of sport when the time comes for them to retire and, for Johan Cruyff Institute, it represents staying true to Johan Cruyff’s vision, perpetuating his legacy and nurturing the sports industry with new sport managers who, with the appropriate academic training, provide unparalleled playing field experience.

In this fourth edition, we will welcome the following athletes to the Online Master in Sport Management, the Online Master in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, and the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Football Business:

Erik NoyaErik Noya (28, Spanish-Venezuelan): Speed Climbing World Cup runner-up, third in the world ranking, he holds the Spanish record in this discipline and is one of Spain’s best prospects for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. “I am very happy to be part of the Johan Cruyff family, this is just the push I needed for my career and I am looking forward to start the Master in Sport Management. I want to thank Johan Cruyff Institute because without their help this achievement would not be possible for me. As in sport and in life, I’m always looking forward to climbing to the top,” says Erik. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Management.


Robyn JohnsonRobyn Johnson (31, South African): A member of the South African hockey team, Robyn made her international debut in 2017 and was part of the national team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. “I am very honored and excited to receive a scholarship from Johan Cruyff Institute. Training in a different institution, learning from different people is a great opportunity to think differently, adapt as an athlete and later on share my knowledge with the athletes of the future,” says Robyn. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.


Emmanuel AriwachukwuEmmanuel Ariwachukwu (28, Nigerian): Professional footballer currently playing in the Bangladesh Football Premier League for Saif FC, who were runners-up in the 2020-21 Federation Cup. He made his professional debut in 2007 and was a member of the Nigerian national team in 2017. “It’s a dream come true, a privilege I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am very honored to have been selected for the scholarship. As a professional and active footballer, my goal is to broaden my knowledge, learn new concepts and everything that has to do with the development of sport at all levels and prepare myself for the future,” says Emmanuel. Full scholarship for the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Football Business.


Yunier PérezYunier Pérez (37, Cuban-Spanish): Sprinter and Spanish record holder in the 60m sprint, he participated in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, won silver at the Ibero-American Championships San Fernando (2010) and has remained for seven years in the world top 10, with seven participations in the World Indoor Tour and five appearances in the Diamond League. “I have dedicated my whole life to sport,” says Yunier, “and now I will be able to continue to develop in the field of sport management. I would like to thank Johan Cruyff Institute for giving me this opportunity, with which I feel identified because its worldwide prestige represents excellence, always my goal to pursue”. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Management.


Antonio LeoAntonio Leo (29, Spanish): A member of the national taekwondo team from 2009 to 2013, a resident on a scholarship at the Joaquín Blume Residence and multiple-time Spanish champion. Now retired, he is the sports director of C.D. Taekwondo Aljamar and is a member of the coaching staff of the Andalusian Taekwondo Federation. “For me, receiving this scholarship has opened the only door I had to train in quality sport management with the best professionals. The fact that Johan Cruyff Institute has given me this opportunity is something unique and worthy of appreciation,” he says. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Management.


Vanessa OvandoVanessa Ovando (32, Guatemalan): Former professional football player and member of the Guatemalan national team. With a degree in technology and business administration, Vanessa joined the Guatemalan Football Players Association (SIFUPGUA), a member of FIFPRO, in 2022. “This scholarship is a great opportunity and a dream come true. These studies will give me the tools to develop my career in sport management and to help the next generation of footballers in Guatemala,” says Vanessa. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.


Xavier LleonartXavier Lleonart (31, Spanish): Former international field hockey player, with three Olympic appearances in which he won an Olympic diploma with the Spanish national team. He retired on his return from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. “Thanks to this scholarship I will be able to train and specialize in the sports sector, to continue to be linked to what I like the most. With the Online Master in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, I hope to be able to experience sport from a different perspective to the one I’m used to, but I’m sure it will be just as exciting,” he says. Partial scholarship (50%) for the Online Master in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.


Germán HerreroGermán Herrero (31, Argentinean): Professional field hockey player, currently playing at FC Barcelona, after playing for different clubs in Argentina and Spain. Germán also coaches youth and senior categories at FC Barcelona and is involved in the recruitment of players, promotion of the sport, and projects for social and labor market insertion in hockey, both for the Catalan Hockey Federation and for Barça. “This partial scholarship is a unique opportunity for me, as it will give me the tools to take a personal and professional leap. I am very grateful, anxious, and excited to start the master’s degree,” says Germán. Partial scholarship (50%) for the Online Master in Sport Management.

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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