Local youngsters coached by Arsenal stars
Gervinho and Sebastien Squillaci
A group of 12 youngsters from Arsenal in the Community’s Disability Sport programme enjoyed a coaching session at the Club’s London Colney training centre last week, where they were put through their paces by two very special guests.
Children from Robert Blair Primary School and The Bridge School, both in Islington, were greeted by defender Sebastien Squillaci and Ivorian forward Gervinho as they took part in a mini-football tournament to celebrate their participation in the Disability Sport programme, which runs coaching sessions during schools hours and after school.
Both schools have been a part of the Premier League-PFA funded programme since its inception and the opportunity to visit the state-of-the-art Hertfordshire facility was a fitting finale to their involvement in the programme, which comes to an end in September this year.
The session gave the pupils involved a unique opportunity to showcase their footballing skills in front of their idols.
Lena, one of the youngsters who takes part in the programme at the Bridge School said: “The sessions that Arsenal run in our school are really fun and the match was fabulous! I really liked it when Gervinho high-fived us after we scored a goal!”
Jack from Robert Blair School, added: “It was a cool experience and Sebastien and Gervinho were really good coaches and passed on some great tips.”
Dinesh Vijayan, Arsenal in the Community’s Disability Sport Officer, commented: “This was a fantastic opportunity for both the schools and Arsenal in the Community to showcase the work that we have been doing together over the last few years.
"Although I focus on football coaching in my sessions there are a lot of other benefits that the children receive, such as gaining the confidence to mix with their mainstream peers and developing social skills to interact with them well.
"The teachers and teaching assistants who work tirelessly to achieve these goals day in day out should be very proud of their children as they made a great impression on all of the Arsenal training ground staff as well as the two players!”
Arsenal in the Community is committed to making sport accessible to its supporters and the Club runs regular term-time disability football sessions for Arsenal’s young supporters. They take place on a fortnightly basis on Sunday mornings at the Sobell Leisure Centre in Finsbury Park and are free. If you or someone you know might like to get involved, please email Dinesh Vijayan on: email@example.com or call 020 7704 4140 for more information.
The Club also offers a number of dedicated and award-winning services and facilities for disabled supporters and visitors to Emirates Stadium. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arsenal’s disability awareness work falls under the umbrella of Arsenal for Everyone, which aims to embrace and celebrate diversity and equality in all forms at Arsenal Football Club.