Arsenal in the Community

“I’m really lucky to be able to come here”

D’Eric, from Islington, is 11 years old and has been a participant on the Holiday and Estates Double Club programmes for more than two years.

“I joined the Double Club because I wanted to increase my football skills – and I can now score free kicks. My mum always used to say maybe if I was really good they might ask me to play for Arsenal Under-12s or something like that, and that maybe one day I could play professionally. When I started my football skills were not as good as they are now. Maybe I can be lucky and be in the next generation of Arsenal football players.

“I remember being nervous before my first session. That nerve-wracking feeling of walking into a new space with lots of people who have known each other for a long time and me just by myself. The first time I went my friends weren’t there, but the next time I came my friends were there.

“The classroom part is fun because I get to do English and that’s my favourite subject. It has made me rethink what to expect from football clubs because usually it’s football, football, football, and that can be draining. But here you can go to the classroom, cool down and relax. I already knew some of the wellbeing and breathing exercises we learned about, but I didn’t use them as much as I do now. Now I use them when I’m feeling sad.

“Arsenal in the Community have been helping other people in more need of help than me, so I’m really lucky to be able to come here. I’ve made loads of good friends here like Nathan, Malachi, Theo, Jack and a lot of other people. I’m a very social person, even if I say so myself, so I can’t list all of them!

“Being part of Arsenal in the Community means I have people around me to support me during these trying times, you know, 2020 and 2021. Those years were really hard, so I get to be around people that I know can support me. My parents can support me, obviously, but coaches like Joseph, Chris and Henry can support me and other players can support me. It’s fun because you know you’re in a good environment.

“If you get the chance you should join something like this, even if it’s Tottenham! Seriously you should join, it doesn’t matter what club it’s with, you should have people around you to support you.

“I think I was already nice but now I’m nicer! Being around kind people means I have to be the same. It pushes me to be kind.”

The Double Club runs football and wellbeing programmes in primary schools and community centres. For more information about the Double Club programme please email Henry Milton at hmilton@arsenal.co.uk

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