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In Honduras, Soccer is practically the only sport played and is typically called, "El deporte de los pobres (The sport of the poor)." All you need is a ball and it can even be played barefoot on the street in any poor "barrio" or neighbourhood. Soccer or "Football" as it is called here in Honduras, is seriously played with a passion. Thirty years ago when I came to Olancho, two things caught my attention:

  1. The drug and alcohol abuse was a huge problem with the youth, who live in a state that is 26,000 square kilometers with a population of 500,000 people
  2. Politicians had been promising the youth of Olancho the construction of a decent, modern soccer stadium for the last forty years, but never delivered

After the first few days of my arrival in Olancho, the youth were pleading with me, "Padre Alberto, help us build a soccer stadium!" It took me over twenty five years to come to grips with the situation and in addition to the youth requests, there were other pressing priorities. Children were living on the streets and elderly were literally dying outside in the cold and rain. I had not forgotten the pleas of the youth. In 2009, together with an engineer and an architect, we began to plan the building of the first sports stadium in Olancho. At the conclusion of the planning process I was presented with a two million dollar project. It was to be a true and modern soccer stadium, with the seating capacity of 20,000 people. Finally the youth were going to have a positive place to expend their energy and be with other like minded people, who had an appreciation for soccer.


The prospect of building a two million dollar sports stadium "took my breath away." It was a daunting task ahead of us, just to consider how we were going to raise two million dollars. Two million dollars is big money anywhere, especially so in Honduras, but God provides and slowly but surely, Divine Providence was at work granting us the means to start the construction.


The land necesary to build the stadium was donated completely free of any cost to us. An architect designed the entire project at no charge. An engineer provided us with free supervision. The land coupled with the free professional services, proved to be a tremendous help in getting this project started. Next we decided to plan fund raising activities.


Our fund raising activities challenged us in many ways. We embarked on hosting horse racing, bingo and raffles and even went from door to door, asking for financial assistance. Three years later, as you can see from the photos in the above slide show, the stadium has really taken form. At the present moment, construction is approximately 80% completed and we are now in the "last stretch" to bring closure to this project. We received some help from the Honduran government, cement and steel companies and labour from all over Olancho. International donations from Canada, the USA and Europe have also contributed to the successful construction of the stadium.


It is with great joy that I report that the youth of Olancho are ecstatic. They anxiously awaiting the stadium's completion and look forward to their first soccer game. Should the progress continue as it has, we anticipate the completion of the stadium by the end of 2012. To date, it has been almost three years of very hard work, all of which makes up for the opportunity to tell a kid, "don't do drugs, don't abuse alcohol." It is not enough to identify a problem, we must also provide a solution. The sports stadium is the solution to the drug and alcohol abuse tempting so many of our youth. The sports stadium provides them with a location and activity that is both positive and healthy, a much needed decent injection into Honduran society. The sports stadium is a safe haven to positively expend their youthful energy, socialize and come into contact with others in a positive enviornment. It is with Franciscan hope and love, that this soccer stadium will, beginning with the youth, help rebuild Honduran society to a civilization of love.


Let me express my continued and heart felt gratitude to all of our benefactors for your continued contributions and prayers. All of us here in Olancho are extremely grateful for your generosity and charity. On behalf of everyone in Honduras, and especially the youth, thank you very much for everything. All of you are in our prayers.


Paz y Bien (Peace and All Good),


Padre Alberto Gauci, ofm