Arsenal in the Community

Gianni's Premier League Kicks story

Gianni

Arsenal in the Community engages over 5,000 participants every week.

This season we will shine a light on some of our fantastic participants, giving an insight into our projects from their perspective.

Our first participant of the season is Gianni, 15. He attends one of our most popular social inclusion ‘Premier League Kicks’ sessions on a weekly basis. We caught up with Gianni and he explained his connection to Arsenal in the Community and why the sessions are so important to him.

“I first heard about the Kicks sessions through a friend," said Gianni. "He explained they were free football sessions, led by the coaches and I’ve been coming back every week since. I wasn’t aware at the time that Arsenal delivered these types of sessions. I remember my first day, I was excited and a bit worried at the same time. However, I left feeling very welcomed by everyone. This was definitely a big reason for returning the following week.

"I never have to be persuaded; I wanted to do it, especially knowing it is to do with Arsenal. We do more than just train and play weekly, we have been involved in tournaments and different workshops. I genuinely have made many friends and it’s been nice to meet new people, that’s not always easy!

"All the Arsenal staff are very kind and respectful. They have helped me with staying composed both on and off the pitch. The sessions have had a positive impact on me, giving me motivation to keep training and chase the dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Gianni

"I’ve definitely learned new skills; to be humble, keeping fit, be a team player and being determined. My first touch has improved and I’m making more correct decisions quicker. I feel I’ve taken some of the lessons from the pitch into everyday life, for example remaining calm in different situations and controlling my emotions has been noticeable to others.

"One of my highlights so far and a huge surprise was a recent visit to my home by David Frimpon.  I was chosen to receive a new Arsenal home shirt and tickets to Arsenal vs Chelsea for making a positive contribution to our sessions! I recently found out from watching the Arsenal’s YouTube channel that David also interviewed Arsenal’s new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga (maybe I’ll be interviewed again as an Arsenal player).  Kicks has helped teach me that football is not the only way for young people to progress, we are often encouraged and supported to stay focused on our education. Being part of Arsenal means a lot to me and I would 100% recommend other to get involved”.

Our Premier League Kicks initiative is a national programme that brings together the football industry with the police initially, to help young people keep away from anti-social behaviour, drugs and crime and adopt positive influences. Arsenal in the Community deliver free Kicks football sessions throughout Islington, Camden and Hackney.

For more information regarding the programme contact Jack Ironside jironside@arsenal.co.uk

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