The SOS Children's Villages charity has recruited another prominent supporter after Switzerland star Tranquillo Barnetta was named a 'FIFA for SOS Children's Villages' Ambassador. The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder joins fellow countrymen Kubilay Turkyilmaz and Stephane Chapuisat in the effort to provide aid for children in need.
Despite his tender years, Barnetta is already a vital component of his team at both club and country level. The 22-year-old represented Switzerland at every youth level and claimed UEFA U-17 European Championship honours in 2002. He began his career on home soil with FC Rotmonten and FC St. Gallen, before a switch to Bundesliga outfit Hanover 96 in 2004/05 and a subsequent move to Leverkusen.
He has amassed valuable international experience in the UEFA Cup and claimed a regular starting berth at Bayer last term, finishing with 30 Bundesliga appearances for the campaign. However, the midfielder's determination and drive is not confined to the field of play, as he approaches his new role for the SOS Children's Villages charity with characteristic conviction.
"I was overjoyed when FIFA and SOS Children's Villages asked if I'd like to be an ambassador. They intervene on behalf of kids who've had a hard time of it with no family. I appreciate what it means to have a family giving you a foundation and support," the Swiss international commented.
Barnetta joins an array of prominent international footballers in taking on an active ambassadorial role. Big-name players from all over the world support FIFA/SOS Children's Villages as ambassadors, including Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Andriy Shevchenko, Samuel Eto'o, Philipp Lahm , 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro, and many others.
As voluntary FIFA/SOS Children's Villages Ambassadors, the stars support the efforts of the global non-profit organisation in communication drives, visits to SOS Children's Villages, and campaigns to uphold the rights and affairs of children, youths and young adults. SOS Children's Villages is a private children's aid charity with no political or religious affiliation. The organisation provides permanent homes for 60,000 kids and youths in 132 different countries.