The Bears kicked off their Mini Monsters clinic in Badalona, Spain Thursday on their first ever visit to the country. This program's purpose is to bring American football to international markets while teaching children the value of physical activity to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Spain is Mini Monsters' second international stop as the tour traveled to the United Kingdom in July 2022 and will return to the UK this summer.
"The international impact of Mini Monsters has the potential to be massive," said Gustavo Silva, Bears manager of youth football and community programs. "We are introducing the wonderful game of football to thousands of kids and making thousands of Bears fans in the process. In addition, we are inspiring and encouraging kids to form healthy habits. The ripple effect of such an impactful program is hard to measure or quantify. The only thing we know for sure is that every place we have executed the Mini Monsters clinics, the kids and parents loved it!"
The Mini Monsters clinics will provide over 800 children with a free training session lasting more than 90 minutes, which consists of various non-contact American football activities.
Alongside Silva, former Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza and Spanish Olympic Games medalist Saúl Craviotto are helping lead the clinics and encourage the kids throughout the event.
Garza, who spent 10 seasons with the Bears and 14 total in the NFL, was inducted into the Latin-American International Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
"As a former player it is an honor to be here in Spain and introduce the NFL in this country and to its young people, and representing such a great organization, the Chicago Bears," Garza said. "I love being able to inspire and teach the Spanish children the values of this sport."
Craviotto is a native of Spain who has won five Olympic medals – two gold, two silver and one bronze – as a sprint kayaker. He has participated in four Olympic Games, starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"It is an honor that the Chicago Bears have chosen me as an ambassador for such a fun project here in Spain," Craviotto said. "All the values that the Chicago Bears have, are closely associated with my own sporting values, particularly when it comes to physical activity, growing confidence and team building through sports. I am sure this tour will be a huge success, and I hope it will be the first of many here in Spain."
The Mini Monsters clinics will also be conducted in a language other than English for the first time ever as Silva and Garza will speak Spanish at the events.
"Personally, I am proud to use my parents' language to teach kids about American football," Silva said. "As an organization we believe the path to growth of the game is through inclusion, accessibility and equity. I think us doing the clinics in Spanish in Spain is a great example of our dedication to our values."
After hosting clinics at local schools in Badalona on Feb. 2 and 3, Mini Monsters will travel to Barcelona on Feb. 4 for two sessions then Madrid on Feb. 6 and 7.