The Arsenal Foundation

A big STEP on and off the pitch

The Arsenal Foundation has helped fund STEP Football, a local team for adults with learning disabilities. Patrick Murphy is a long-standing regular who now does more than just play football…

“I was born and raised in Islington and I’ve been going to STEP Football almost since it started in January 2004. I heard about it from a teacher of mine at college, and I’ve always loved watching and playing football so I thought I’d give it a go. I also thought it would help me meet people and get fitter.

“I play up front for the first team and at more than six foot I’m one of the taller members of the team, so I’d like to think I’m good in the air. I’m always working on my game in the hope of scoring more goals. But I’ve also gone beyond just playing, because not long ago I got my Level 1 football coaching qualification, which means I now also coach our “fun league” players.

“I really enjoy that side of it – I get the players warmed up, then take the coaching sessions before we finish with a match. We work on different things like ball control, passing and shooting, and I always try to make sure that every player is really taking part and having fun. It also helps me help the players to work as a team, which is really important.

“I have got so much out of STEP over the years and the coaches have always been great with me, especially the club’s founder, Tony Reid, who set it up from scratch on his own. STEP has given me so much more confidence. I’ve learned to work with other people and made a lot of friends along the way, too. The money from the Arsenal Foundation has been brilliant because it has helped us to keep going – we were stone broke at the start of the year and the donation made sure we stayed alive. We were worried about how we were going to keep going, and we’ve held fundraising events since then, but we wouldn’t have made it that far without the money from the Arsenal Foundation to pay for the sessions.

“I’m a massive Gooner so that makes the help we have received even more special to me. My all-time favourite player is Thierry Henry and he inspires me to always try to be a better footballer. I haven’t given up hope of making the Arsenal first team just yet!”

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