True inspiration, big ideas, meaningful interactions, and extreme excitement – This was the general sentiment at the Right to Dream Egypt Press Conference held last Thursday under the iconic Pyramids of Giza.
With over 100 guests from key media outlets and influential figures in the Egyptian football scene in attendance, and a fantastic set-up that showcased RTD’s journey from 1999 until today (more on that on Instagram), we knew we couldn’t have asked for a better start to our new academy in Egypt.
It was a chance to introduce more of the Egyptian society to our vision and celebrate what has been an incredible year (Thank you, 2022!). A year that saw us kick off our operations in Egypt, hold extensive trials all over the country, introduce our first-ever Egypt class, acquire TUT FC, and launch our first professional women’s team in Egypt. Super exciting times, right?
Expanding the Dream
Well, at least this is how Right to Dream Chairman Mohamed Mansour – a driving force behind RTD’s expansion – feels about it.
“This is a huge moment for us, and we could not be prouder to be supporting Right to Dream as it launches in Egypt,”
Mr. Mansour said in a pre-recorded video statement.
“We believe talent is everywhere, and it’s our responsibility to help find it and help nurture that talent in an environment that allows it to flourish,”
With these opening words, happiness, pride, and enthusiasm were already in the air. And a panel that brought together RTD Founder Tom Vernon, RTD Egypt CEO Mohamed Wasfy, RTD Egypt Head of Academy Farrah Ragai, and FCN Player-Coach Michael Essien shared with the audience the RTD story, the Egypt journey, and the upcoming steps.
Having founded RTD over 20 years ago on a small scale in Accra, Ghana, Vernon was rightfully excited to see how it grew to include a residential academy in Ghana, an academy and club in Denmark, a strong educational network of schools and universities in the US, and now an academy and club in Egypt.
“We’re excited to find the next kids to come into Right to Dream, but also to see the development and progress of these fantastic kids kicking off in this fantastic location, so huge day for Right to Dream’s global history and an even bigger day for Right to Dream’s Egyptian history,”
Our New Home is Egypt
So, it was only appropriate to hear about how the Academy in Egypt came to life. Wasfy recounted the - ongoing - story starting from the scouting trips that toured Egypt to partner with the right talents, all the way to the moment 28 student-athletes – with the right mix of skills and dreams - were chosen to represent RTD’s first-ever class in Egypt.
“We look forward to repeating Right to Dream’s global success in our Egypt Academy, and to providing fair opportunities to emerging talent, as we develop their academic and football skills and build their characters in a way that allows them to achieve their dreams on and off the field,”
“I dream that in 2030, Egypt’s national team would have some of Right to Dream graduates in its ranks,”
the RTD Egypt CEO added.
And it seems the boys in the Egypt Academy are already eyeing this dream (and beyond), as the audience got a glimpse into the dreams and hopes of some of Egypt’s up-and-coming talents (Spoiler Alert: It includes setting a new Balon d’Or record) through a short – yet heartfelt - video that left almost everyone with goosebumps.
Thriving in All Areas
But Right to Dream is more than just a football academy. Our model is based on a holistic approach of football development, education, and character development that prepares our student-athletes to become resilient future leaders and help them kick off their journey towards their dreams.
So, it’s only fitting that Ragai introduced the audience to RTD’s academic pathway which allows our student-athletes to tap into a strong network of schools and universities to secure academic scholarships abroad.
The Head of Egypt Academy also spoke about the relationship between the staff and the students’ families. She explained that the team is in “constant communication” with the parents who play a crucial role in supporting their kids’ progress.
A model of footballing excellence himself, Essien expressed happiness to be part of the RTD Group, saying that what RTD does go way beyond football.
“Some of the boys come from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and now they’re plying their trade in Europe and big universities in America. There’s more to Right to Dream than just football, and I think having RTD here in Egypt with the population they have in here is really going to benefit the young boys and girls,”
the former Ghana midfielder said.
The former Chelsea midfielder has been part of the coaching staff at FC Nordsjaelland – part of the RTD Group and the first spot where many of our graduates gain professional football experience – since 2020. He joined the Danish side as part of his development towards his full coaching license.
“Hopefully, in a few years, we’d have a lot of Egyptian boys and girls joining FCN,”
We echo your sentiment, Essien. We can’t wait to see our Egyptian students pursuing their dreams in FCN and beyond!
Don’t forget to check our Instagram and Facebook accounts for a closer look at this memorable and symbolic night that kicked off a story of excellence, talent, and opportunity at one of the most historic and recognizable of places.