Soccer School kids get to meet their heroes
We popped along to the Community Sports Trust soccer school in Harraby on Thursday as Shaun Brisley and Jabo Ibehre dropped in to surprise the 110 youngsters taking part in the event.
CST Assistant Community Manager James Tose spoke to us about what was another successful week on the schools programme.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “We were out at Wigton last week with around 70 children, and we’re here in the heart of Carlisle this week with 110 children.
“It’s great to see them come from all over the city and from surrounding areas to enjoy four days of fun and football.
“We come to Harraby for the Carlisle schools now and I have to say it’s been the biggest step forward for us in recent times. It’s a wonderful facility and it helps us to put on a fantastic course. The coaches are great, the kids are always wonderful, but a good place to hold it always helps us to take it one step further.
“We’re now using this facility all year and we put on seven or eight soccer schools in Carlisle alone. Every single one is a success but we do keep trying to make them bigger and better. Long may that continue.”
One of the biggest tests for any course of this nature is to see how many of the children register for future events, and Tose confirmed that the take-up is always high.
“Usually we see them come to us at four or five years old and the next thing you know it’s six or seven years later and they’re still here,” he commented. “In fact, they even start asking if they can come to just one more because they know they’re going to be too old.
“Once they come the first time we tend to be able to keep them year on year. That’s testament to the coaches we’ve had and the work we’ve done over the years. It really doesn’t matter what standard they are because it is literally for everybody.
“The aim is to get children playing football and if they’re lucky enough, and good enough, we can then filter them into our Academy. We see a lot of kids play so this is a useful way for us to find players - possibly even the next Kyle Dempsey - who can be developed and who can go on to bigger and better things.”
On the excitement levels when Jabo Ibehre and Shaun Brisley walked through the door, he said: “As soon as we mentioned it their eyes lit up. It makes such a massive difference because it brings a connection from the first team to the youngsters here at grass roots level.
“They get to ask the players how they started and I would bet that nine times out of ten the professional will tell them it was at soccer schools like this. Seeing the reaction of the children when the players come in makes the courses bigger and better than any other course of its type out there, and that’s brilliant for us, the children and the club.”
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