For all the talk of footballers looking forward to summer hols, few actually get to slow down during this time of year. They’re either off on international duties, out on loan to a league that plays in the summer, taking on a short-term broadcast gig, or involved in charity work. Sometimes, they do several of these at once.
Take, for example, Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
The 29-year-old spent Friday evening on the bench for Belgium, who defeated Estonia 2-0 in their World Cup Qualifier. After flying back home later that night, Mignolet had to go straight to bed.
That’s because early the next morning he hosted more than 200 kids for a charity training session in his home town of Sint-Truiden. Children lined up to take penalty kicks against Mignolet and received coaching on technique and fundamentals. The event lasted from 11am to 5pm local time, featured three one-hour sessions, and ended with Mignolet signing autographs and taking photos with the young participants.
The event was held to raise money for ALS Liga, a charity benefiting those afflicted with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Mignolet is an ambassador for the charity.
Here’s how the ALS Liga website described the event (with English translation via Google Translate):
“Simon Mignolet has decided to put his shoulders under the ALS League, but he does not want to do that alone. We are stronger together and so Simon is looking for your support. Has your son or daughter ever wanted to test their penalties against a Red Devil? Then that moment has arrived. With your participation in 'ALS Simon Voetbalt', you not only get tips from a world-class goalkeeper, but also support your charity. That combination is just as beautiful as a shot into the top corner.”
Not bad for a day’s work.