CWU News

Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft, and Central Washington University Kick-Off GAME ON! Youth Leadership Program

The Real Madrid Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Central Washington University (CWU), and the Yakima School District announced the official roll-out of the GAME ON! youth leadership program at the Eisenhower High School Stadium in Yakima on Monday.

At a press event, CWU President James L. Gaudino said the purpose of the program was to provide participating young people with valuable computer science skills as well as teaching them the value of teamwork, self-control, respect, and collaboration.

“GAME ON! is a unique program that trains both the mind and the body,” he said. “The students in this program learn the basics of computer coding as well as receive soccer training through our Real Madrid partners that teaches leadership and core values. These are all skills that will benefit them throughout their school careers and beyond.”

Gaudino said CWU became involved in the program because of the importance of showing young people that getting an education, including a college degree, isn’t out of their reach no matter who they are or where they live.

“We recognize that it is an excellent way to reach these students,” he said. “As part of the program, the students will visit our campus and see for themselves that college is very attainable.

“We’re the fastest growing university in Washington and we’ve recently been rated the best value in state by The Economist Magazine, so we’re honored to join Real Madrid, Microsoft, and the Yakima School District in this innovative program,” he added.

Gaudino also thanked Don Luis Fernando Esteban, honorary consul for the Spanish government for Washington and Oregon, who was responsible for helping to put the partners together to create the program.

Ignacio Abascal, trainer of football trainers for Real Madrid, said he was looking forward to training local area coaches and trainers. He said Real Madrid Soccer Club, which is the world’s most valuable sports franchise, is committed to the idea that core values and leadership skills can be shared through sports.

Abscal will spend part of this week on the CWU campus in Ellensburg training coaches from participating Yakima area schools.

Gaudino noted the GAME ON! program is the first sports workshop of the Real Madrid Foundation to be affiliated with a university. Gaudino said the partnership complements CWU’s ongoing commitment to community outreach.

CWU engages in significant outreach to K-12 schools in the central region of the state, through programs such as Compass to Campus, the university’s Center for Excellence in Science and Math Education, and the state’s only GEAR UP grant. CWU also has one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the country.

The GAME ON! program began last March with a pilot program involving students from Stanton Academy and Eisenhower High School. The success of that effort encouraged the partners to officially commit to continuing the program.

The Partners in GAME ON! include:

The Real Madrid Foundation: The global sports schools of the Real Madrid Foundation teach students leadership values through sport. The Foundation will provide curriculum and training for students’ leadership experience after school. Students learn the values of teamwork, self control, respect, collaboration and more.

Microsoft YouthSpark: Since technology is an integral part of people’s daily lives, Microsoft is committed to ensuring all youth have the opportunity to learn computer science. The foundational subject prepares students with the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for success in the digital world. Through its YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft will provide content and resources, both original and by partners such as, enabling students to have their first programming experience.

Central Washington University: CWU seeks to empower youth with academic services and mentoring so they believe they can succeed in college. CWU’s Center for Leadership and Community Engagement will coordinate the Youth Innovation and Leadership Program, ensuring coaching is based on the Real Madrid Foundation’s leadership development methods and ensuring the skilled delivery of YouthSpark curriculum.

Yakima School District: Located primarily within the boundaries of the city of Yakima, the school district serves a diverse population of nearly 16,000 students. Yakima is the 18th largest district in Washington, the fourth largest in Eastern Washington, and the largest Latino-majority district in the entire state.

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Media contact: Rich Moreno, director of content development, 509-963-2714,