Pope Francis: Soccer Offers an Alternative to Isolation and Self-Centeredness

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For young men and women, competitive sports like soccer not only help strengthen their bodies, but also help strengthen their souls in creating last bonds of friendship through teamwork, Pope Francis said.

Speaking to 6,000 young people at a gathering co-sponsored by the Italian Gaming Federation of Soccer May 24, the pope encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity to play a sport that allows them to engage with others rather than give in to the temptation “to isolate ourselves,” especially through technological advances, like social media.

“Soccer is a team sport; you can’t have fun alone,” he said. “If it is played in this way, it can be good for the mind and the heart in a society that exasperates subjectivism – that is, the centrality of self – as an absolute principle.”