Foundation celebrate successful summer of Soccer Schools
The West Ham United Foundation are once again celebrating a successful summer of Soccer Schools!
The Claret and Blue programme has seen a flurry of five to 15-year olds attending from all corners of east London and Essex.
Every school holiday the Foundation runs sessions across a number of venues in the community, providing local young people the chance to develop their football, make new friends and improve their social skills.
This summer saw more than 1,500 bookings across Newham, Havering, Basildon, Thurrock and Chelmsford, with the refreshed framework ensuring participants were provided with a unique experience every week.
Luke Hirst, Foundation Extended Services Officer, discussed the project’s offering, saying: “It’s been great to see so many players of a range of abilities at our Soccer Schools this summer, both returning and new. The new structure of our sessions has had such a positive impact on participants, and you can see this by the feedback from the parents and children too.
“Our engagement has massively increased and with this offering at the base of our Player Pathway Pyramid, it is the perfect place for everyone to start, whatever their ambition.”
Some participants long to follow in the footsteps of West Ham United players such as Declan Rice and Mark Noble, mimicking their style and celebrations. But, besides this, the Soccer Schools prides itself on having coaches who provide a dynamic approach so that everyone has fun learning whilst they attend.
Over the six-week periodeach day saw players work on their technical, tactical and team skills within an enjoyable and educational environment. There were also chances to work as a team and earn trophies whilst using different skills, which included takeovers such as the ‘South American Futsal Day’ and ‘World Cup Day’.
These themed days throughout the week are a great chance to not only learn different aspects of football, but also bond with those of a different age group or skill level.
Bryan Glover, Head of Football Development spoke about the programme saying “We’re lucky to have support from both the first team men’s and women’s players which is invaluable in inspiring future players.
“Taking part in any course on our pathway is not only a great chance for children to develop their football skills, but also to make new friends and socialise with different groups of people that they wouldn’t otherwise meet.”
Previous attendees have received surprise visits from the likes of Grady Diangana, Fabian Balbuena, Dan Kemp and Robert Snodgrass. With Snodgrass taking part in activities at the Beckton site and remarking: “It’s very important that people communicate with each other through sports. Everybody here is having fun and that’s exactly what it’s all about.”
The Soccer Schools’ awards also made a spectacular return – bigger and better than ever before. With venues surrounding the London Stadium, bubbles were floating through the air to commence the weekly end of week ‘Friday Feeling’ ceremony which presented all players with a medal and certificate, and top achievers of each age group category receiving a trophy.
Similarly, there was a consistent ‘Hammer of the Week’ award for an individual who had shown a lot of enthusiasm throughout the week. The last ‘Hammer of the Week’ this summer was five-year-old Rose, who was new to the course but had shown huge eagerness and improvement throughout the sessions she attended.
For those who do dream of the Stadium pitch, development results have been promising. In the last 12 months, over 100 young players have progressed from Soccer Schools into the Football Player Development Pathway and there continue to be regular advancement.
The Pathway encourages players to progress up the four-tier pyramid, which caters for each individual’s needs and begins to enhance their techniques and gain a more in-depth understanding of the game.
Running alongside the Development Pathway is the Foundation’s successful One-2 programme which runs at several selected venues. Our One-2 Programme is designed to aid young players to develop their skills whilst focusing on their technical, physical and psychological attributes. The sessions are one hour and are for all playing positions and anyone over the age of seven years old. Within the last 12 months over 23 young people have progressed to from the Development Pathway to play at Academy level football.
For those wishing to get involved, our Soccer Schools our back and ready to book for October Half-Term.
If you would like to book, visit soccerschools.whufc.com and use the code ‘WHUFC’ for 20% off!