It was both a productive and insightful week for children enrolled on Port Vales foundation soccer school as the youngsters were treated to a number of player appearances as well as some fantastic training sessions supported by the coaches.
45 different boys and girls engaged in numerous activities and each received a medal as well as certificates at the end of the programme, while one lucky child won the award for ‘Star of the week’.
The participants were involved in technical practices, penalty shoot outs, cross bar challenges and a number of tournaments as well as the opportunity to receive match day tickets for the first team home games.
The Foundation even had a specialist day for goalkeepers, with current professionals Ryan Boot and Joe Slinn visiting the 18 aspiring youngsters to give them some useful advice and tips. They then had the chance to display their skills in a penalty shoot out with Ryan being particularly surprised!
“I was impressed by some of the reflex saves the children were making to be honest, they’d also taken on board the advice we told them from the start.
"These sessions and courses show that children do improve and with practice, there’s really no reason why they couldn’t make a career in the game.”
Earlier in the week, 19 year old academy graduate and current player James Gibbons took time out to answer questions about his career and his rise to stardom.
The kids each asked their own question and then proceeded to challenge him partake in the cross bar challenge, albeit in an indoor venue.
Speaking after the appearance James said “It was nice to be recognised by the children this morning, but I didn’t enjoy the fact they laughed about my goal tally, or lack of it!
"The children told me about their cross bar challenge attempts so I decided to have a go myself, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the target. I’m blaming my trainers!”
Players were accompanied to the visits by currently side lined player Adam Yates, who has been helping the foundation while he recovers from his serious eye and facial injury sustained in November.
“I think it’s fantastic for the children to see the players in a different environment rather than just on a match day.
“These soccer schools prove to be beneficial for the youngsters as day upon day we can see improvements in not only their football abilities, but in their confidence levels and social interaction between the groups.”
The Foundation soccer schools also proved that participants could potentially see avenues into the football club on a long term basis, with one child impressing coaches enough to progress into Port Vale football clubs development centre.
For more information or to find out about future programmes please contact the Foundation directly on 01782 757066 or email Foundation.firstname.lastname@example.org