Thailand’s Speedy Blue and Latin America’s Orange Bolts were announced the global champions of the 2022 Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament in Paris. In celebration of the brand’s long-standing partnership with the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women’s Football, Gatorade’s annual grassroots tournament continues to inspire the next generation of athletes and drive equal opportunity in sport for both young men and women.
The fiercely contested Global Finals of the five-a-side competition for 14-to-16-year-olds featured teams from across Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Each team had previously fought hard to win nationally to qualify for the once-in-a-lifetime experience - including a team who advanced from Gatorade’s first ever all-women’s tournament which coincided with the 2022 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in Turin, Italy.
To foster the young talent and help them achieve greatness, Gatorade put all the finalists through a coaching clinic with legends of the game, Roberto Carlos, Robert Pires and Asmir Begovic. The athletes were on hand to share expert advice helping strengthen and improve their mental and physical game ahead of the finals. It didn’t stop there as the future G.O.A.Ts also had the opportunity to train with Barça Academy coaches from the official football school of FC Barcelona, who have a rich history of producing world-class talent, as they hosted a masterclass following La Masia methodology.
Asmir Begović, Gatorade brand ambassador and Premier League goalkeeper, commented: “The Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament creates a great opportunity for youth players across the world to show their true talent. The training and opportunities that Gatorade offers these young athletes is pretty unique - it’s been fantastic to coach the finalists and hopefully take their skills to the next level. The enthusiasm and dedication the teams have put into training and competing has been truly inspirational. Congratulations to Speedy Blue boys’ club and Orange Bolts girls’ club on their win!”
This year Gatorade continued to create life-changing moments for the youth athletes as they were surprised with a football ‘Legends Match’ against men’s and women’s UEFA Champions League superstars, including Cafu, Luis Garcia and Karen Carney. Taking place ahead of the Global Finals, the finalists stepped onto the turf to play shoulder to shoulder with some of the game's greats.
Mark Kirkham, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at PepsiCo, commented: “Since its conception, the Gatorade 5v5 football program has been creating tangible and formative experiences for over 100,000 young amateur athletes from across the globe. After a two-year hiatus, Gatorade 5v5 demonstrates our long-term ambitions to support these athletes on their journey, providing opportunities, resources, and access to world class expertise along the way. Being at the 5v5 finals in Paris with the athletes to witness the dedication and passion it takes to represent their country and compete on a global stage has been incredible. We’re excited to see them go on to achieve big things in their careers.”
Having just completed its fifth year, the Gatorade 5v5 Football Tournament has been helping grow the sport of football around the world. Having grown from modest beginnings to now include teams from over 17 countries, the tournament gives young people the chance to excel in the sport and learn first-hand what drives greatness. This year at the Global Finals players received hydration and sport nutrition mentoring sessions with world leading experts from Gatorade Sports Science Institute. They also took part in sweat testing with the Gx Sweat Patches, regularly used by pro-athletes; a first-to-market wearable, the patches unlock athletes’ unique sweat profile and enable customised sports hydration recommendations.
Creating positive change is not just restricted to the pitch during the Global Finals. The 2022 programme saw Gatorade focus on using sustainable packaging at the event as part of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), which puts sustainability at the centre of how PepsiCo and its brands will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. Working closely with UEFA, Gatorade supplied all players with reusable bottles and bottles made of 100% recycled plastic. Hydration was also provided through innovative seaweed pods containing the sports drink and Gatorade powders via a dispenser into paper cups. The players’ kits were produced using a recycled polyester/cotton blend by OEKO-TEX/ISO certified manufacturers and packaged in biodegradable materials.
As one of the world’s most respected food and beverage companies, PepsiCo aims to use its reach and influence to help change the way society makes, uses and disposes of packaging, and has taken a multi-pronged approach to implement innovative packaging solutions, cut virgin plastics and improve packaging to ensure it’s recyclable, compostable, biodegradable or reusable.