26 September 2014 - Vincent Kompany rocketed to football fame and fortune after debuting at age 17 as one of the youngest international players ever. He was acclaimed (in 2012, by The Guardian) as among the best 25 football players in the world. Today, he is captain of the Manchester City club, and captain of the Belgian national team -- which he led at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Yet Kompany has said that he views his success and fame as a great opportunity to be a spokesperson for children and to work to ensure that every child can grow to their full potential, supported by a loving and secure family.
Named International Ambassador
In April 2014 Vincent Kompany became International Ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages International, pledging also to use Belgium’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to help raise awareness about the millions of vulnerable children around the world who are in need of family and protection.
Among the best in the world: Vincent Kompany and his team played to win at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Photo: Baltimore Sun
For eight years before becoming International Ambassador, Kompany was ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages Belgium, using his time and the spotlight of his football fame to spread the message about providing family-based care, protection, support and love for children who have lost their parents or who suffer from neglect, abuse, war or natural disasters.
In addition to supporting the work of SOS Children’s Villages International in helping children, in 2013 Kompany bought the third division Belgian football club FC Bleid as a way to open doors and provide opportunities to disadvantaged young people.
He says football is one way to draw out the potential in each child. “Everyone has a talent somewhere,” he told The Observer this year. “If we can find it in our organisation, we will develop it and we will help."
Vincent Kompany with a child from SOS Children's Village Kinshasa. Photo: SOS Archives
Inspired by his father
A profile published in The New York Times on the eve of the 2014 World Cup described Kompany as someone whose deep sense of responsibility to others comes from an appreciation of what his father overcame to give him a better life. His father came to Belgium from The Democratic Republic of the Congo as a political refugee; his mother is Belgian.
“When somebody has gone through this and given you the chance to live another life," Kompany told The Telegraph, describing how his father influences and inspires him, "you cannot just mess around with it."
Proud to help
Today, with two children of his own, he tells why he lends his name and support to SOS Children’s Villages: "No child should grow up alone without love and a stable home. I am proud that in some small way I can help SOS Children's Villages. If my support can help improve the opportunities for children in South America, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, I pledge to do all I can every day.”
"We are deeply flattered that Vincent Kompany is also part of our team," said SOS Children's Villages CEO Richard Pichler. "We deeply appreciate his generosity in visiting children, supporting fundraising campaigns and raising awareness of how our programmes make a real difference."
Update: On 4 June 2015, Vincent Kompany was named "New European of the Year" in recognition of his achievements and commitment to helping children and society. Read about it here.