Thursday 27 March 2014
Grassroots coaches in Manchester were rewarded for their hard work over the years with the chance to meet Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and defender Aleksandar Kolarov last week as well as getting a tour of the Etihad Stadium.
All 20 volunteers were from various projects run by City in the Community (CITC), Mancester City’s charitable foundation. Over half were coaches aspiring to a career within football after working their way through the relevant coaching qualifications and are regularly volunteering during weekly sessions and holidays for soccer schools. So the chance to meet and ask questions of Pellegrini, who is aiming to deliver a second Barclays Premier League title for City in his first season at the club, was a unique opportunity to obtain expertise from the best.
"This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity"
Paul McCoy, City in the Community
"This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Paul McCoy, Enterprise Coordinator for City in the Community said. "It’s been a great experience for all our volunteers who are working day-in, day-out to empower people's lives through football. They put forward a few tough questions to Pellegrini during their Q&A session, which caused a few giggles."
The other volunteers who attended were from a range of projects including CITC’s health programme, where volunteers began as participants themselves and progressed to volunteering to help others, CITC's Community Cohesion project that supports activities to prevent anti-social behaviour and the foundation's disability programme within the football and multi-sport theme.
For giving up their time to teach football in the region and help change lives through sport, the coaches were rewarded by Barclays as part of the campaign by the title sponsor of the Barclays Premier League to thank fans and community heroes.
As well as meeting Pellegrini and Kolarov at City’s training ground and asking them about life at the club the coaches got to have a tour of the Etihad Stadium and to enjoy lunch in one of the boxes overlooking the pitch.
“Football coaches at grassroots level are vital to teaching the next generation about the values of football,” David Wheldon, managing director of Brand, Reputation, Citizenship & Marketing at Barclays, said. “This season Barclays is saying thank you to community heroes across the UK who help make the Barclays Premier League what it is today.
"They not only teach people of all abilities about the laws of the game, but help them to improve their skills, technical ability, fitness and communication as well as important social skills. These coaches work hard for the love of football and are very deserving of a thank you for their dedication.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/barclaysfootball and join the conversation to thank community heroes with #YouAreFootball.