Felipe Borges, Joan Amigó and Alejandro Velazco (handball), Eva Aguirre (rugby), Tomás Morales (judo), Julia Mora and Androniki Michalopoulou (football) and Elisabeth Maier (skeleton) are the athletes awarded scholarships from The Cruyff Athlete Fund to study sport management at Johan Cruyff Institute
This academic year 2023-24, Johan Cruyff Institute welcomes eight international athletes who have been chosen to benefit from The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship fund. This initiative, aimed at helping professional athletes to transition to the world of sport management through professional training, is one of the main pillars of Johan Cruyff Institute’s CSR program.
For the athletes, it is an unbeatable opportunity to pursue a dual career during their active sports career or to resume their studies once they have retired and continue to be linked to the world of sport through management. For Johan Cruyff Institute, it means staying true to Johan Cruyff’s vision, perpetuating his legacy and nurturing the sports industry with athletes who, with the appropriate sport management training, can offer unparalleled playing field experience.
For this fifth year since The Cruyff Athlete Fund scholarship fund was launched, we will welcome the following athletes to the Online Master in Sport Business (specializing in either sport management or sport marketing and sponsorship), the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management and the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Football Business:
Eva Aguirre (28 years old, Spain): High level rugby player supported by the PROAD program to support high-level athletes of the Spanish Higher Sports Council (CSD). Among her sporting achievements are: participation in the Rugby 7s World Cup; three times European Rugby XV champion; bronze medal in the European Rugby 7s; two times champion of Spain’s Iberdrola League and elite athlete in the World 7s circuit (HSBC World Sevens Series). “For me, receiving this scholarship is a great opportunity to transfer my personal experience as an elite athlete to contribute my bit, and help promote the future development of Spanish sport,” says Eva. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Business – Specialization in Sport Management.
Felipe Borges (38 years old, Brazil): Professional handball player with experience in the best leagues of Spain, Portugal and France, and with the Brazilian national team in the South American and Pan American Handball Championships, World Cups and Olympic Games. “This scholarship is a treasure that will illuminate my path towards a promising future, where I will be able to forge my destiny and contribute significantly to the sports society. I am a man of clear objectives and determined to pursue them, I am very competitive and I like to learn from others. I have the philosophy that knowledge does not take up space, that we can always learn something from someone,” he says. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Business – Specialization in Sport Management.
Alejandro Velazco (29 years old, Uruguay): Fourteen years of experience as a member of the Uruguayan national handball team, participating in Pan American Handball Championships and World Cups, and as a member of the beach handball team from 2019 to the present. Uruguayan federal champion in 11 championships and first team player of the Liceo Alemán handball team since 2010. Standing out among his many sport accolades are: Sportsman of the Year (2016-17) and Best Young Sportsman (2010) by the Uruguayan Olympic Committee; Best Player of the Season 2021 (Charrúa Awards) and chosen in the Ideal Team of the Pan American Senior Men’s Handball Championship (2014). “Receiving this scholarship represents a unique and very valuable opportunity. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and 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. Full scholarship for the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management.
Tomás Morales (32 years old, Spain-Argentina): Member of the Argentine judo national team with whom he has participated in World and Pan American Championships, Grand Slam, Grand Prix and won medals in the Continental Open. He has worked in sports event management for the Royal Spanish Hockey Federation (World Cup Terrassa 2022) and Spanish Badminton Federation (World Cup 2021 and European Championship 2022). “I want to thank Johan Cruyff Institute for granting me the scholarship. I am a firm believer in the potential that athletes have when accessing the labor market, and help like this is a bridge for many of us,” says Tomás. Full scholarship for the Online Postgraduate Diploma in Sport Management.
Joan Amigó (30 years old, Spain): Professional handball player at Fraikin Balonmano Granollers, currently competing in the Asobal League and the EHF European League, after playing for FC Barcelona (2011-18) and Cavigal Nice Handball (2018-21). Recognized as an elite athlete by the CSD, among his sporting achievements the following stand out: Silver Division of Honor Silver Champion (2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons); Asobal Champion (2016-17); Silver at the Argentina U19 World Cup; Silver at the Sarajevo U21 World Cup. “It is an honor and a great opportunity to study at Johan Cruyff Institute with a scholarship from The Cruyff Athlete Fund. My experience in France has been able to give me an insight into how the sport as a product is treated in other countries. When my sporting career ends, I would like to continue to be linked to this sport from the relevant institutions or through the management of clubs to be able to give it that boost that is needed,” says Joan. Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Business – Specialization in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.
Júlia Mora (26 years old, Spain): Currently, a professional football player at Levante Las Planas, after a time at FC Barcelona B (2019-21) and RCD Espanyol (2013-19). She has also coached at FCB Academy (2020-22) and FCB Summer Camps California (2022), and has experience in grassroots football. “The scholarship is for me an opportunity for my professional career, to be able to continue my education and acquire new knowledge in the field of football. I am very excited to start this master’s degree at Johan Cruyff Institute,” she says. Partial scholarship of 50% for the Online Master in Football Business.
Elisabeth Maier (29 years old, Canada): Retired in 2022, after a successful skeleton career, which included her participation in the 2018 Olympic Games, a World Cup medal and several Crystal Globe World Cup appearances, with victories in the Canadian circuits of Calgary AB and Whistler BC. Elisabeth took a brief hiatus to have a child and returned to the World Cup circuit with a top 6 finish, just 10 months after giving birth. Upon learning that she is one of the scholarship recipients she commented: “I am super excited and grateful. My goal is to make the sport a better place than I found it. My experience as a professional athlete has provided me with a unique set of skills, being able to secure multi-year sponsorships and self-funding. I hope to gain from the master’s degree tools that will improve the sustainability of athletes and federations.” Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Business – Specialization in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship.
Androniki Michalopoulou (25 years old, Greece): Greek professional footballer and member of her country’s national team, currently playing as a defender for FC Carmen Bucharest (Romania) after a time in the Greek and Polish leagues. “This scholarship has a great importance for me, because it gives me the opportunity to do the dual career, which was my big goal. I managed to make the big leap to professional football while studying a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Athens. My last three years as a professional player abroad have opened my eyes to the world of sport management, an environment full of potential. Besides, being able to study online and at an institution with the prestige of Johan Cruyff Institute, which facilitates training for athletes who, like me, are constantly traveling, is a guarantee.” Full scholarship for the Online Master in Sport Business – Specialization in Sport Management.