Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will take a break from his preparations for the new season next month to launch the club’s Football Academy in Co Down.
With Dalglish at the helm, excited Liverpool fans are already counting down the hours to the start of the 2011-2012 campaign, believing that a challenge for the title is a distinct possibility.
The big kick-off comes on August 13, with the Reds hosting Sunderland, but just four days before that the legendary Scot will arrive here in a clear indication of his commitment to the Liverpool Academies in Northern Ireland, run in conjunction with the Happy Children charity.
Dalglish will attend the launch of a three-day Liverpool Academy at Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch which takes place from August 9-11.
He will also visit Jordanstown, where another Soccer School will be taking place with official Liverpool FC Academy coaches providing training programmes.
Dalglish was in the province earlier this month to receive an honorary Doctorate from the University of Ulster for services to sport and charitable causes.
He promised then to return to Northern Ireland to support the Academies and is being true to his word.
He said: “The charity Happy Children will be running soccer schools for the benefit of the local communities.
“It will be non-profit-making and hugely enjoyable for the young kids to attend. I am hoping to be able to support them as much as possible. It is hugely encouraging that the community spirit is alive and well in Northern Ireland.”
Dalglish will be joined on the trip by Liverpool’s Academy Director Frank McParland, who earlier this year recruited gifted Northern Ireland schoolboy Ryan McLaughlin, named in the international under-17 squad for the Milk Cup next week.
The Happy Children charity has invited Power Soccer Teams from Belfast and Dublin to open the Ballynahinch Academy. (Power Soccer is a competitive team sport for people with disabilities who use power wheelchairs)
Watching those kids will no doubt prove an inspiration to King Kenny and everyone else in attendance.
Colleen Toner from Happy Children said: “We are delighted these two very special teams have accepted our invitation to attend.
“Not only does it give the Power Soccer Teams an opportunity to play each other but the whole three-day academy event brings together children from various backgrounds and abilities in a secure and enjoyable environment in which each child can flourish.
“This in a sense sums up the very essence of Happy Children.”
All Academy events are open to boys and girls of all abilities aged between five and 16 years.
As well as the events at Jordanstown and Ballynahinch, there is a Soccer School at Magee College, Londonderry from August 2-4. Further details are available at www.liverpoolfc.tv/soccerschools or www.happychildrencharity.org