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Thursday 12 December 2013

Jonny Evans helps schoolchildren do the maths

Manchester United defender visits school where football is used to help kids study mathematics

Man Utd defender visits New Charter Academy where football stats are used to help students learn maths (BBC MOTD)

For many children at school mathematics is not the most engaging of subjects. However a new project at a school in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, is looking to stir greater interest in maths by incorporating it with sport through studying match analysis and statistics.

"Statistics have
become a big part
of football now"
Jonny Evans

Students at New Charter Academy got an even bigger incentive to study maths when Manchester United defender Jonny Evans dropped in to help them solve some problems.

The visit was organised through the academy's partnership with Manchester United Foundation, which works in disadvantaged areas across Manchester, Salford and Trafford to deliver football coaching, skills training, personal development and life-changing experiences, providing young people with opportunities to change their lives for the better.

Evans took part in a lesson where pupils watched clips from the Manchester derby of 2009, when United beat City 4-3 with a goal from Michael Owen in the 96th minute. The students analysed passes and goal attempts, while Evans, who is known within the Man United squad as being hot at the subject, made his way around to give advice.

"I enjoyed maths at school but it's one of those subjects that most people dread so it can be hard to encourage kids to engage with maths," he said. "Hopefully, if they see someone like myself who enjoys it they might be more encouraged and today has shown that they can use maths in terms of sports.

Football statistics

"Sport and maths often go hand in hand with statistics of games; I know we look at statistics of pass completion, putting the ball in the box, clearances, things like that, so statistics have become a big part of football now."

The three-year partnership between New Charter Academy and Manchester United Foundation is through the Hub of the Community programme which focuses on helping young people to develop major life skills such as leadership, team work and positive behaviour. 

"Football is a great way to show the pupils maths is very real"
Claire Mulvenna

"Today is all about kick-starting the project so it's great for the pupils to see someone who is a very positive role model, who's very keen on maths and can really inspire them and therefore hopefully push their achievement levels up," Claire Mulvenna, a Foundation coach, who is based full-time at New Charter, said. "Football as a whole uses a lot of maths and we don't realise it so it's a great way for us to show the pupils that maths is actually very real; we use it a lot in football and sports and get them thinking about how we use it at Manchester United. 

"A lot of these kids are aware of statistics through playing football computer games, watching matches and Match of the Day."

Evans' visit will be shown during BBC 1's Match of the Day at 7.35am GMT on Sunday 15 December 2014.

  • Evans is known within the Man United squad as being good at maths

  • The academy has a three-year partnership with Manchester United Foundation

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