Sir Trevor Brooking and over 100 children helped The FA Tesco Skills Programme celebrate its fifth anniversary at the London Soccerdome in Greenwich on Wednesday.
The Programme has seen over 3million children aged between 5 and 11 take up places on the coaching scheme since Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard helped The FA and Tesco launch the Skills initiative in a special event outside Wembley Stadium in 2007.
“We wanted to access the youngsters at the primary school age group as they’ve got a real enthusiasm for the game,” commented Sir Trevor.
“The starting point was to get them to run around and enjoying physical activity, having fun and making new friends while introducing ball work and developing their skill base, ” said The FA’s Director of Football Development of the Programme’s core themes.
With over 3m places filled since 2007, The FA Tesco Skills Programme is set to go from strength to strength as Sir Trevor explained: “We started off with 66 coaches and that’s gone up to 106 and we’re hoping to get even more to help take Skills nationwide.
“Around 40% of the children on the Programme are girls which is very encouraging to see so we need to retain that interest as they head into their teenage years.
“Tesco are based on families and they’ve really helped us grow the Programme and it’s great that they’re supporting us long-term.”
“We want to get 4.7m children on the Programme by 2014 as we’ve got Skill Centres, after school clubs and an opportunity to direct the youngsters to join a good youth or Charter Standard club so the player pathway is in place and it’s a very exciting time.
Former Manchester United youngster, Kalam Mooniaruck, is an FA Tesco Skills Team Leader for Essex, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire and sees the success of the Programme on a daily basis: “It’s a very rewarding job as it’s a really key moment in the lives of these youngsters," he said. "It’s a real window of opportunity for fundamental movement and it’s not all about football so it caters for everyone and helps shape children for the future.
“We get great feedback from both parents and teachers and there’s continuous research with the children on what they want to do in the sessions long-term.
“Our real aim is to see a boy and girl from the Programme go on and play for England one day, it would be fantastic to achieve that goal.”
FA Tesco Skills Programme celebrates five-year anniversary.