Growing up, Mario was taught the value of “giving back.” From an early age, he was determined to succeed in life in order to give back to his mother, family and friends, who had always been there for him. Mario thanks his mother, Diana, for the love and confidence she instilled in him, which is instrumental in his past and current success.
In the spring of 1996, Mario lost his older brother, role model, and hero, Winston, to a heart attack. This loss made Mario eager to find a way to contribute to the lives of others affected by heart complications and their loved ones. Mario became a spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation; a charity that to this day provides help to people affected by heart-related illness.
In addition to his efforts to help those with heart problems, Mario also has a soft spot for children. He is especially sympathetic to children who grow up financially poor as well as those who are starved of love, support and guidance. Inspired by the love and support he received from his family, Mario developed 2 football fields in Amsterdam, where children can find a safe, happy, and supportive haven to play and develop their football skills.
The pitches are open all year round for children to come and play. Once a year, Mario throws a tournament where children compete in teams for a trophy and brand new soccer gear sponsored by Mario’s good friend Jacque Valentine of Asics and Kwong Steinraht of Label1401. The tournament is always an amazing event with other entertainment provided outside the football competition itself as well complimentary food trucks and other goodies. Each year, the children ask Mario one thing, “Will you be back next year?” His reply is always, “Yes!”