Arsenal in Community coaches visit Leitrim
The Goal for Peace Project, a cross community and cross-border initiative in Ireland, welcomed two Arsenal in the Community coaches to Leitrim on Sunday May 27. This is the coaches’ second visit to the county, having previously visited the region in October 2011.
The project, which launched in 2010, aims to build relations between children and adults from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds through the medium of football by bringing clubs and schools together.
Arsenal in the Community coaches spent three days with the project and undertook a variety of activities to reach out to individuals who enjoy the game and understand its unique power to bring people together. On their first day, the coaches led a coaching clinic in Manorhamilton. They demonstrated a number of drills and coaching games to the participants including shooting, ball control and reaction drills.
Jack Ironside, one of the Arsenal coaches said: “The key to these drills is that they are simple to pick up but are suitable for youth and adult teams.”
There are currently 10 schools and seven clubs from County Leitrim and County Fermanagh involved in the project, with around 160 students currently participating in the scheme.
Damon Kearney, FAI Development Officer for County Leitrim, assisted the session and said: “Football coaches can easily adapt the drills to suit their own particular players in their respective teams.”
On Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th May the Arsenal community coaches held a workshop and coaching session for the 10 schools involved in the project. Eight schools from Leitrim and two schools from Fermanagh came together in Leitrim Village over the course of the two days.The students rotated through various stations on the pitch designed to improve passing, shooting and control skills.
Over the two days the children also completed a social inclusion workshop which included discussions on the various nationalities and cultural background of players in the Arsenal squad who all come together to play in a team. Jack McNicholl from Arsenal in the Community said: “This workshop helps students understand how people from different cultures, religions and nationalities can work together to form a successful team on the pitch.”
The coaches also made a visit to Carrick on Shannon Community School where they gave a presentation to transition year students. The presentation gave students an insight into the work Arsenal carries out in it local communities. The students were also given information on the Arsenal Gap Year Internship, a programme run by Arsenal in the Community that gives students an opportunity to get involved in coaching in schools and community projects in locations such as Kenya, Barbados and Israel.
During the trip, the coaches also travelled to Drumshanbo where they gave a talk on some of their education programmes, in particular the Arsenal Double Club, which teaches both academic subjects teamed with soccer skills to primary and secondary schoolchildren.
Goal for Peace Co-Ordinator Gordon Burke said: “We were delighted to welcome the Arsenal in the Community coaches back to Leitrim. Arsenal have been highly successful in developing sports-based social inclusion and education programmes in London and further afield. The coaches visiting us are involved in implementing many of these projects and some of their work has similar goals to our own. We felt it was important to build on our relationship with the Arsenal community coaches, which will help children from the schools in Leitrim and Fermanagh advance their soccer skills and at the same time improve their awareness of religious and cultural diversity.”
The coaches that visited Leitrim are vastly experienced in rolling out a variety of community initiatives and their organised work at the Club has been in place for over 25 years, even though Arsenal’s good work in its community dates back to its earliest beginnings.
Since 1985 more than one million participants have benefited from various Arsenal in the Community schemes.