Game On! Delegation From CWU Travels to Spain


Representatives of Central Washington University’s innovative Game On! program were the only participants from the United States to attend the Real Madrid’s Foundation (RMF) training and coaching camp in Madrid, Spain, last month.

The RMF sponsored 10 coaches from five countries including two from CWU.

CWU’s Game On! is a partnership between the Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft, and CWU that combines the excitement of world class soccer and the secret language of computer coding with higher education attainment. Game On! creates a unique opportunity for middle- and high school students from economically-disadvantaged communities.

CWU Game On! Executive Director Manuel Rodriguez and Program Coordinator Domingo Alcala, who also serve as Game On! coaches, spent five days at the camp with their counterparts from India, Angola, England, and Bahrain.

It was the first time CWU staff were selected to travel to Spain for training. The camp reinforced the coaches’ knowledge through new instruction while also exposing them to schools in Madrid. CWU was invited to be part of the training based on program performance and referrals.

“Our participation can be attributed to the strong advocacy of Spanish Consulate Luis Fernando,” said Sharon O’Hare, CWU vice president for strategic enrollment management. “The Consulate was instrumental in CWU’s partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation from the beginning and continues to support Game On! and its mission.”

The international soccer powerhouse, Real Madrid, through its foundation, gives back to society with social and cultural programs. The RMF partners with organizations around the globe to help underprivileged kids build social skills and values through sport.

In prior years, participating school district employees and volunteers learned youth coaching techniques from Spanish Real Madrid Foundation coaches, who visit Central Washington each fall.

“We are eager to share the latest in coaching techniques while building on our already successful program,” Rodriguez said.

Since the program start in spring 2016, 358 underrepresented students have participated, and 19 have pursued higher education. By the end of the 2019 school year, CWU plans to increase Game On! to more than 500 students in Yakima, Ellensburg, Mabton, Wenatchee, and Quincy.

About Game On!
CWU coordinates Game On! meetings twice a week. Students learn coding for an hour and sharpen their leadership skills through soccer and social values for 90 minutes. CWU sponsors visits to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, so students can see first-hand what a “big company” looks like.

Students also come to CWU’s campus where they see a “real” college campus and meet students and faculty who welcome them into a friendly educational future. Participants are overwhelmingly Hispanic and attend middle- and high-schools where 100 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Source: Yakima School District