Photo By Jorge M. Vargas Jr.

Photo By Jorge M. Vargas Jr.

In town to take on the L.A. Galaxy at the Rose Bowl, two members of the celebrated FC Barcelona soccer team met with local students on Monday during a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) event at the Marriott Marina del Rey Hotel.

The event was part of a UNICEF effort to encourage sports and other forms of physical play as a crucial element of children’s physical, social and cognitive development.

FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta Lújan and goalie Marc-André Ter Stegen signed autographs, posed for pictures and answered questions about their playing experience, motivation and how they became soccer champions.

“Soccer is my passion. When you get a chance to enjoy your passion, it’s never hard,” team captain Iniesta Lújan said through an interpreter in response to a student’s question about the most difficult part about being a soccer star.

“For all of us, it’s important to be [role models] for all children,” Ter Stegen said.

— Gary Walker