Footballing youngsters received a surprise visit from two Blue starlets on Wednesday afternoon as they enjoyed a half-term Soccer School with Everton in the Community.
Courtney Duffus and Sam Byrne, both Republic of Ireland Under-21 internationals and part of the Everton Under-23 squad, joined more than 100 boys and girls who were taking part in a five-hour Soccer School run by trained coaches from the Club’s official charity.
Aimed to encourage local children to stay fit and active during the school holidays, the session offers young people the chance to develop their skills and learn new footballing techniques in a safe and fun environment.
The Toffees duo arranged the visit as part of their work with Everton in the Community - including the ongoing ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ fundraising campaign – which is looking to generate £230,000 to fund and develop a supported living initiative for young people in Liverpool.
Duffus, a striker who joined the Club in 2012, said: “It’s been great meeting all of the kids here today and get a bit more of an insight into some of the work that Everton in the Community do on a daily basis, which is something we’re really keen to do during our ‘Home is Where the Heart is’ fundraising campaign.
“I remember growing up in school and all I wanted to do was play football! So, it’s great to know that local kids can turn to the Club for access to quality training, no matter who they support.”
Michael Salla, Director of Health and Sport for Everton in the Community, added: “Everton Soccer Schools was relaunched in 2016 and, last season alone we worked with over 1,500 boys and girls aged between four and 14. This February we are expected to work with over 250 players across Merseyside and beyond.
“It’s great to see players from the wider Club getting involved. The Under-23s have made a real impression on the local children today and it’s great to know that they are looked up to, not only for their footballing skills, but their dedication to supporting the local community, as well.”
A typical day at a Soccer School includes a 'footballer's style' warm-up, skill sessions, penalty competitions, small-sided games and certificate presentation.
The last hour of each day consists of a tournament for the youngsters to show off their new skills. Every day is carefully structured to give the children the opportunity to learn new techniques, to enjoy their football and meet new friends.
The Soccer Schools have become increasingly popular and sessions are now delivered internationally, including places such as America, China and across Europe.
For more information about Everton in the Community and the Under-23s’ Home is Where the Heart is campaign, click here
For more information about Everton’s Soccer Schools and how to get involved, call 0151 530 5232
or email firstname.lastname@example.org