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At the age of 36, goalkeeper José Pablo Burtovoy seized the educational opportunity offered by the Argentine Football Players' Association (FAA) and completed his secondary education.


football is still the main passion of José Pablo Burtovoy. But after enjoying a special event in his career - the promotion to the second division (Primera B Nacional) of his team, Brown de Adrogué, when he decisively stopped three penalty kicks by Platense and two by Almagro during the series that decided both encounters - he has just made another move that will remain one of the best in his life - but off the pitch, and on the personal side.


Go back to school at 36 to complete a subject? Surely not... That would be like trying to grab a ball that's heading hard and fast for the top corner. Difficult, almost impossible! Many might have thought that way, but this goalkeeper, who speaks unhurriedly, thinks clearly and has had a long footballing career within Argentina and beyond, accepted the challenge as calmly as when faced by a penalty shoot-out.


On terrain that he'd forgotten - the world of study - he again took his stand: and won, exploiting one of the educational openings offered by the Argentine Football Players' Association through the El Futbolista foundation. And when they told him that he'd scored a seven in the maths examination, thereby completing his secondary education, his heart was filled with a mixture of logical satisfaction and understandable pride.


'When I stopped studying I had left this subject incomplete, and then I started travelling for the sake of football. At that time, I wasn't focused on completing the secondary cycle of education. Until the El Futbolista foundation gave me this incredible opportunity. I heard of the possibility at a talk that was given in the club, I met the requirements that apply in these cases, and - well, everything turned out great. But the best thing is that I was able to enjoy every lesson and understand the details of the examination. There were seven lessons, and I took the examination at the eighth.’


When Burtovoy tells his story, he emphasizes how much he enjoyed it and what it means - not just for him. 'I was thrilled when I realized that, eighteen years later, I'd completed that cycle properly. I thoroughly enjoyed taking those lessons, and this accomplishment filled me with delight. I called my parents right away - especially my mother, who had kept reminding me at least once every year of the subject I still had to take to complete my secondary schooling. They helped me recapture the willpower I needed to make this commitment of a lifetime.'


'The many ways in which the Foundation develops football players add up to an incredible initiative, which is enormously important and has a remarkable vocation. I've been to a number of countries in America, and in all of them I've noticed that our union is looked on with admiration for all the things it does. This is a union that looks after its members in many ways, including this educational initiative. We feel we are protected’.


José Pablo Burtovoy with FAA President Carlos Pandolfi