Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Irish Football Association (IFA), in conjunction with the PSNI, McDonald’s and Sharing Education, have secured the services of soccer coaches from Liverpool Football Club to work with young people from the area.
Liverpool Football Club’s coaching staff trained around 500 local children from Newtownabbey, Ballyclare and Glengormley.
The sessions were held last week at The Valley Leisure Centre and the High Performance Centre in Jordanstown.
Mayor Victor Robinson said: “Football plays an important role in the lives of many kids. We have many talented young individuals in the borough whose skills should be nurtured. It is great that a top club like Liverpool has put in the effort to come to the province and coach local children.”
The sessions not only gave the children an opportunity to avail of top quality coaching, but also highlighted several contemporary issues faced by young people, such as the harmful effects of drug use, bullying, racism and violence. All the children received information packs addressing the following six key messages:
- Kick drugs into touch;
- Give bullying the boot;
- Show racism the red card;
- We is better than me;
- More important than being a good footballer is being a good person;
- You’ll never walk alone.
Newtownabbey police area commander, Chief Inspector Paula Hilman, welcomed the initiative.
She said: “Reducing anti-social behaviour is an ongoing priority for Newtownabbey police. We hope initiatives like this soccer scheme will help reduce such incidents, by allowing young people from different backgrounds to come together and establish an understanding of each other.”