Villarreal CF
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Villarreal CF

‘Endavant’: More than a battle cry

Coming from humble beginnings in the town of Vila-real, situated 15 minutes south of Castellón, Villarreal CF has always been a club for the community with a specific goal in mind — to promote the sport and develop the Castellón province. As the climate of professional sports has developed in the manner of maximizing profits, the core of Villarreal’s mission has stayed true. Flash forward 81 years, and Villarreal combined their mission with their battle cry to embody the spirit of the franchise. In 2004, the Endavant programme was born and has since gone from strength to strength. Today, the programme consists of six facets: Província, Solidaritat, Club Groguet, Formació, Cultura, and Esports.

In English, ‘Endavant’ is translated best as ‘Keep moving forward’.

What does the word ‘Endavant’ actually mean though? Endavant is a Valencian word that is commonly used by Villarreal fans to cheer on the Yellow Submarine. In Spanish it is ‘Adelante’, which literally translates into English as ‘Forward’. However, this literal translation does not do the word justice. There is a passion and intensity to the word which sees it better translated as: ‘Keep moving forward’. The importance of this word to Villarreal CF cannot be understated. It embodies the true spirit of the club and its fans.

The beachside town of Vinaròs has been featured by Endavant Província twice. The town offers stunning beaches, seafood, and nightlife.

With the creation of the Endavant programme though, the word took on a whole new significance. Beyond the battle cry, this project has ensured that not only the club, but the entire region keeps moving forward and developing. The impact this programme has had and continues to have on the community is unparalleled.

The goal of the first facet, Endavant Provincía, is to promote tourism in the Catellón province. This humble Mediterranean province is considered to be the hidden gem of the Iberian Peninsula, boasting ancient castles, 120km of coastlines, and picturesque beach towns. Therefore, to promote tourism in this charming region the club felt the need to take action. This is why Villarreal chooses a local town from the province to be the match’s main feature of promotion for every home match. The club offers its official media resources to promote the town in every way.
In the week prior to the match, but especially prematch and during half time, the selected town takes centre stage. Among other things, a promotional video of the town is played at half time and featured on the club’s website (see video above and remember to select English subtitles), the town band performs before the game and during half time, and no other than Yellows legend, Marcos Senna, gives a coaching session to the town’s future ‘groguets’. Endavant Província has really helped to publicize what the Castellón province has to offer, besides its fabulous football team.

In a friendly against Celtic FC in 2014, Gohan of ASPANION was able to live his dream as a professional football player and score for the Yellow Submarine.

Endavant Solidaritat, from the Valencian word for solidarity, is the biggest initiative within the Endavant programme. It collaborates economically and socially with various non-profit organisations at an unprecedented level. The club has partnerships with many non-profit organisations, including ASPANION (an organisation for children affected by cancer (see video)), Fundación Roig Alfonso (an organisation dedicated to integrating people with mental disabilities into society and the workforce), and Fundación Síndrome de Down, and many others. Endavant Solidaritat aims to use sport as a tool to develop the community and help those who need it most.
The Endavant Igualtat initiative, that aims to promote equality in particular, is part of Endavant Solidaritat and is one of the main ways the club manages to achieve this goal. The B team, C team, U19s and several other of the clubs teams link up with organisations, such as those previously mentioned, and the members and the players get together on a regular basis to do activities, learn about each other, and form relationships. This contact with all members of the community greatly benefits all involved.

Yellows Manu Trigueros and Rodrigo Hernández visited Sant Agusti Collegi d´educacio infantil i primaria

Endavant Club Groguet, created in 2007, is the first programme of its kind in Spain. With more than 10,000 members, the main aim of Club Groguet (the Yellows Kids Club) is to instill values of health, athleticism, and equality into the youth of Castellón. Club Groguet offers exclusive activities to youngsters such as getting their photo taken with the starting eleven before the match, watching the game from the stadium’s private boxes, and also the opportunity to have first team players visit their school (see video).

Members of Villarreals Marketing and Communication departments recently gave a lecture on sport marketing and communication at Universitat Juame I

Endavant Formació consists of collaborative agreements with different educational centres such as the Universitat Jaume I, CEU — Universidad Cardenal Herrera, and the IES Miralcamp. The goal of this initiative is to help to develop student athletes both physically and academically. Endavant Formació is exclusive to Castellón and provides scholarships to student athletes, tickets to Villarreal matches, and also gives them access to research projects, and the opportunity to study Sports Marketing (see video) among other degrees.

FIB 2016 included headliners such as Major Lazer, The Chemical Brothers, Muse, Kendrick Lamar, Disclosure, and The 1975

The newest addition to the programme is Endavant Cultura, which collaborates with the internationally known Festival Internacional de Benicassim (FIB), one of the biggest music festivals in Europe. Villarreal season-ticket holders are entitled to big discounts on tickets so they can enjoy the best European music culture right here.

Last but not least is Endavant Esports, one of the most well known initiatives within the Endavant programme. Endavant Esports sponsors both athletes and clubs from Castellón with the aim of promoting elite athleticism in the region. In addition to financial support, the athletes and teams sponsored by Endavant are granted use of Villarreal CF’s facilities and medical services. A number of teams make up Endavant Esports, including ATP Top 20 tennis player Roberto Bautista, who actually played for Villarreal CF until he was 12 years old. This elite group is representative of not only the best athletes in Castellón, but all of Spain.

Roberto Bautista Agut was born in the Castellón province and has a collaboration agreement with Villarreal CF through Endavant Esports.

Though most teams have community outreach programmes, it is hard to find one that rivals just how extensive Endavant is. Endavant has given a voice to the voiceless and means to those without any. Again, in a world where sports have evolved into a culture of maximizing profits and athletes achieving superstardom, Endavant keeps Villarreal grounded and reminds staff, players, and fans alike why we truly love the game.

In summary, Endavant is exactly what Villarreal is all about. The club was founded in 1923 and turned 94 years old on 10th March 2017. Throughout this time, the Yellow Submarine has had its fair share of hardships, but has kept moving forward in true fashion, reaching heights today that 94 years ago nobody would have thought possible.

Currently, Villarreal CF is one of LaLiga’s biggest clubs, despite coming from one of the smallest towns (Vila-real has a population of just over 50,000). Inevitably, it has not been an easy road though. At the end of the 2011/12 campaign, just five years ago, the Yellows were relegated to the Second Division. This was a tough time for the club, but the Submarine resurfaced from the adveristy stronger than ever, winning promotion back to the top flight the following season.

More recently, in the 2015/16 season Villarreal finished fourth behind the three Spanish heavyweight clubs and got all the way to the Semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, where they were knocked out by European legends Liverpool. At the moment, the Yellows sit in fifth place in the league table with ten games to go. Villarreal keeps moving forward, in spite of adversity, continuing to grow as a club and develop the community. It just goes to show, that with the Endavant spirit there really are no limits for Villarreal.

Sempre Endavant!



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