Arsenal in the Community

In focus: Premier League Kicks

Arsenal Premier League Kicks

Over the course of the 2022/23 season we will hear from a wide range of local people who have benefitted from Arsenal in the Community projects. Here we find out more about how Ben has taken his first steps towards a career in coaching.

Project: Premier League Kicks

Established: 2006

Participants since starting: 230-plus

Weekly participants: 32

Sessions: Monday to Saturday

Available to: Boys and girls aged 8 to 18 years

About the participant: Ben, 15 and from Hackney, is taking part in the Premier League Kicks and Rocky 7 programmes, and is delighted that these have given him a pathway into a coaching career.

Participant Ben says…

“I first heard about the Evelyn Court session from my older brother. He started doing it first and I wanted to play football, so I got to see in advance how I would be taking part.

“My life felt good at the time with no real life challenges – I was still young when I joined. I was enjoying the social element and meeting people outside of my friendship circle.

The first time I went I felt very comfortable. I was introduced to everyone at the start and the coaches told me about all the opportunities that surround the football sessions. I felt good and happy to be there.

“I’ve taken part in a few events run by the Arsenal, such as the club’s Rocky 7 project – a way to highlight David Rocastle’s legacy. I’ve been taking part in, and winning, local and regional football tournaments, and getting the chance to attend Arsenal matches.

“I’ve made good friendships with the other participants, but even more so with the coaches. I’ve been selected for coaching opportunities that support our younger players at Evelyn, and it’s important that have role models. The staff I’ve worked with have been helpful with my career pathway, explaining progression routes and the next steps to achieve these.

“Being part of the project has given me more energy and more focus on getting into football coaching. If I were to name three skills I’ve developed from attending the Everlyn Court sessions they would be kindness, time and trust. These overlap into my personal life too, because it’s clear I’ve been able to put more trust into so many different people around me.

“I think it’s the opportunities given to me that have surprised me the most. I didn’t think attending a football session would allow for the opportunities that I have received away from the pitch, especially in coaching and gaining football qualifications.

“Being part of Arsenal means a lot to me personally, especially because I support Arsenal and live locally. When I talk about working with Arsenal it excites me. I would definitely recommend our sessions to others. Give it a try, and we will support you through those first sessions.

“I would say the project has had a big effect on me personally. It has given me more time to get to know people, it has put me in a safe environment and it has given me opportunities with careers and a pathway in life.”

You can read more about the history of the Kicks programme here

For more information email Ashley King at aking@arsenal.co.uk

Arsenal Premier League Kicks

Ben is aware that he is now a role model to other youngsters he meets via the club’s projects

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