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The Fuoriclasse project: an opening to normality

“We use the word inclusion in everyday language, which is very nice, but its Latin root means to close in. We bring kids who have a disability into our youth sector, not to close them in but to give them a social opening of normality, confrontation and emotion.”

Samuele Robbioni, Como 1907’s psychologist, is also the force behind the ‘Fuoriclasse’, a team made up of youngsters with intellectual and relational disabilities. He won the ‘Anghiari Città della Battaglia’ award for his psycho-pedagogical work in sport.

“I always tell the players in the first team that it is the category of hope.”

Hope, he explains with his own vision, is not thinking that things happen by chance, but knowing that you have done everything to make it happen, with the aim of triggering change.”

Every Friday, the Fuoriclasse train at the Padri Somaschi, a few minutes away from Stadio Sinigaglia accompanied by first team players and professional coaches.

“What drives all the people who work at Como, even the first-team players who care a lot about social projects, is to try to create worlds that people want to belong to. We don’t coach a pathology, we coach kids who want to grow up running after a ball.”

He says that in Italy there is a lot of care about disability, but little attention to the real social dimension of normality. This is a normality project, a unique social and sporting team that many want to replicate. It helps children develop their emotional, communication and interpersonal skills and also creates a safe space for families.

“There was one child who didn’t want to get on the pitch, who was struggling to communicate. I threw him a ball for no reason, he came over and we started passing the ball around. Now he has become a young adult who communicates a lot, with his teammates, with his parents. One of the nicest things his mum told me was ‘It’s amazing to see how my son can talk to me”.

“So many of our boys are outside of training. They go on holiday together. And this is also an asset for the families”.