David Beckham visits deprive children in Manila

Posted By on December 3, 2011

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Away from fans’ prying eyes, David Beckham took time out from soccer to share his experiences and listen to Filipino children struggling to rebuild their broken lives.

“It’s so important to have a dream,” Beckham told the former street children Friday at a UNICEF-supported shelter in a suburb of Manila, the Philippine capital where he and his teammates from the Los Angeles Galaxy are playing an exhibition against the country’s national team this weekend.

On the sidelines of the Galaxy’s Manila trip, Beckham, who is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, visited the shelter for children who have been rescued from the streets. They shared tales of domestic abuse and crime — some fell victim to drugs or were abandoned by their parents.

Wearing a black UNICEF T-shirt, the 36-year-old former England captain listened intently in a private conversation with a group of five children and told them how he started playing when he was 7 years old and eventually achieving his dream of playing for Manchester United.

UNICEF asked that the names of the children and the shelter not be disclosed to protect their privacy.

Conan, a 17-year-old who was abandoned by his parents when he was 7, told Beckham that he dreams of joining the Philippine team and later becoming a coach.

He played in the Street Children’s Football World Cup last year in South Africa, where the Philippines beat South Africa 2-1.

The younger children were awe-struck while listening to one of the world’s best known athletes. [read more…]