De Gea plays for Jasmine: Meet the Chicago girl playing for her neighbourhood

Growing up in Little Village, a community struggling with gang crime, has not been easy for Jasmine. Through the power of play, children like her are making a positive change

Manchester United’s start to the new season did not go as planned for Louis van Gaal and his players, but 11 children from around the world enjoyed a day they will never forget.

Through their partnership with the Red Devils, Chevrolet invited the young fans to attend the opening game of the season against Swansea as specially selected matchday mascots.

They were further surprised when Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and the rest of United’s starting XI walked out before the match with the mascots’ own names on the backs of their shirts as part of a ‘Name Swap’.

Eleven-year-old Jasmine Padilla, from Chicago in the United States, took to the pitch second in line with goalkeeper David De Gea.

Jasmine, whose favourite player is the recently retired Ryan Giggs, had travelled from the Little Village neighbourhood of Chicago, which struggles with gang crime. She describes life there as unsafe and uncomfortable, with very little freedom.

Instead of getting drawn into trouble, Jasmine chose to make a positive impact on her community by staying in the right areas and avoiding those who could be a negative influence on her.

One of the ways Jasmine has been able to take back a feeling of freedom in Little Village is by participating in organised sports.

This summer, Chevrolet partnered with Beyond the Ball, a community development organisation that aims to transform low income, crime-stricken communities by targeting their youth.

Beyond the Ball, among other initiatives, runs street soccer programs in neighbourhoods like Little Village.

The partnership is part of Chevrolet’s ‘What Do You #PlayFor?’ campaign, which aims to spread football and the power of play to communities that need it the most.

To find out more about Jasmine and the stories of the other 10 mascots, watch her video above and visit