Liverpool FC coaches return to Greater Shankill

Wednesday April 4th 2007

Children from the Greater Shankill area enjoying last year's coaching session, and the presence of the European Cup, with Liverpool FC.Liverpool Football Club’s community coaching team is back in north and west Belfast over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

The coaches will return to Paisley Park for a fourth year to train children and young people and help them master football skills, drills and tactics. As well as developing soccer skills the club’s efforts will inevitably increase the self esteem of those young people taking part, helping them fulfil their potential and develop necessary skills needed for a balanced life.

The two-day soccer extravaganza is once again spearheaded by Sister Valerie Thom, of the Church Army.

She said: “This is the fourth year that Liverpool Football Club community coaches have visited the area. It is a positive experience and gives those attending a sense of worth when a club like Liverpool returns to the area every year.”

Last summer, more than 200 children aged between six and 14, most of whom had no particular church connection, had the time of their lives being trained by Liverpool’s community coaches.

Former Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Harper, who is now Archbishop of Armagh, joined the kids for a kick-about last year

He said afterwards: “I have great admiration for Liverpool Football Club for both what the do on and off the field. Their coaches are enthusiastic about teaching the kids not just football, but life skills. That integration is so important.”

Sister Valerie said:  “Those attending last year’s project had a very positive experience. They had a chance to hold the European cup, which the chaplain and staff brought over.  We also had a community meal where one man on leaving said ‘this has not just made my day but made my life’.”

Coaching sessions take place on Easter Monday and Tuesday.  On Thursday April 12 at 10am, the Liverpool FC Chaplain, Bill Bygroves, will make presentation at St Columbas Church, Ballygomartin Road, on faith and sport, covering themes of racism, sharing, bullying, drugs and community responsibility.

The presentation will be attended by young people and their parents, and will raise awareness of the issues affecting young people, focusing on the fact that it is more important to be a better person than a good footballer.

Coaching costs £10 for the two days and is open to everyone although registration is required. For more information, contact Valerie Thom at 02890719396 or 07736644051.

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