Juan Cuadrado: Football, Entrepreneurship and a Strong Social Conscience
Every success has a story of strength. #HerbalifeNutrition sponsored athlete Juan Cuadrado shares his journey to the world’s biggest soccer stage and his commitment to community #BehindtheResults https://hrbl.me/2s7rit7Click To Tweet
Every professional football player will tell you the same: this was their dream since they were little kids. It was also mine, but football meant something more to me: it was the possibility to achieve a different life, one with a brighter future.
Colombia suffered from high rates of violence during the 1990s, which fortunately my country has overcome. But at that time, practicing sports was an alternative to a life of violence.
Growing up, I was focused on being the best football player I could be in order to get noticed and have the opportunity to play professionally. However, once that dream was achieved, I began to wonder: how could I give back to my country and community? Reading John C. Maxwell inspired me and I came up with two answers: by starting a foundation and my own clothing company.
The purpose of the Juan Cuadrado Foundation is to provide opportunities for underprivileged children. We use sport and culture as a means of integration and social transformation: through football, theater and leadership schools we teach values, companionship, and integrity. Our purpose is to show kids that dreams can come true if you work hard and stay true to yourself.
Some might think that entrepreneurship and philanthropic work do not go hand in hand, but they actually are a powerful combination. One of the main reasons I started Juan Cuadrado Jeans was to create jobs. Unemployment is a pressing social issue in Colombia, and I felt that I could do more for my people. Furthermore, a part of the money we make through the store goes to the Foundation, which makes it the perfect win-win cycle.
But being an entrepreneur also comes with its challenges. The main advice I have for people starting their own business is this: make integrity the backbone of your everyday routine. Even if no one is watching, do the right thing. Be disciplined, work hard and have faith in God. I don’t take anything for granted. Today, I have a successful foundation, company and career but I know I need to work hard everyday to keep it that way.
And that mindset is how I approach football. I train regularly, even on vacations, and I make sure I have a balanced diet. Thanks to my partnership withHerbalife Nutrition, I have learned that good nutrition and hydration are essential for my performance because they allow me to have more energy and a faster recovery. I pay attention to all of this because I want to continue inspiring kids for who sport is the way to a different, healthier and happier life.