More than 17,000 Salvadoran youth participate in Police Athletic League 2023

June 20th, 2023

More than 17,000 Salvadoran youth participate in Police Athletic League 2023

Thousands of young people throughout El Salvador seek safe spaces to develop their talents and skills in sports, but their opportunities have been scarce due to the few safe places in their communities. This changed with the arrival of the Police Athletic League (PAL) program, a U.S.-funded effort, in 2012 which initially provided opportunities for a group of 500 girls and boys.

Since its inception, PAL has benefited more than 50,000 youth across the country in 14 sports and cultural disciplines, including soccer. This program has created opportunities for them to excel professionally. As of 2023, 20 young soccer players are already playing in reserves and first, second and third division teams thanks to the training and lessons learned in the PAL program.

U.S. Ambassador William Duncan, accompanied by the Commissioner and Director General of the National Civil Police, Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, and the Executive Director of Patria Unida, Antonina Cuestas, participated in the inauguration of the tenth tournament of the Police Athletic League, a key program for the prevention of violence.

The Police Athletic League (LAP) is a project funded by the U.S. government through the Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which began as a pilot program in Santa Ana in 2012 with only 500 participants. The program seeks to provide youth with the opportunity to participate in recreational activities and interact in a positive way with officers of the National Civil Police (PNC). The implementing partner of this project is Fundación Patria Unida.

During this event, the annual soccer tournament was kicked off, in which more than 13 thousand children and young people will participate in the 69 teams from different schools and communities that will compete over the next three months. The final of the tournament will be played next October. The participants of the PAL will not only compete in sports such as soccer, but there will also be competitions in other sports such as basketball, swimming, surfing, beach soccer, art, music, dance and choreography, being 17,591 children and adolescents the ones who will be part of the Police Athletic League 2022.