Wednesday 06 November 2013
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes that possible stars of the future will be inspired by a new 3G pitch funded by the Premier League Community Facilities Fund (PLCFF).
Rodgers joined Liverpool youngsters Jordon Ibe and Jordan Rossiter in opening the brand new facility at the Rainhill High School on Merseyside, which was built with a £300,000 grant from the PLCFF.
Rodgers chatted with pupils from the school and unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening while Ibe and Rossiter, former and present pupils of Rainhill, tried out the new surface for themselves in a match with students.
"You can create really good technical players on this type of pitch"
Liverpool have had a partnership with Rainhill High since 2009 and the school provides GCSE education to the club’s U12s to U16s, BTEC qualifications to the U18s and life-skills education to the U21s.
"This brilliant new facility is a wonderful credit to everyone involved in the opening, you don't much better than this," Rodgers said. "It will allow not only the elite young players from Liverpool to benefit, but also the young children from the school and the local community.
"Surfaces like this are excellent for improving your passing skills because there are no bobbles. You can create really good technical players on this type of pitch and the technical players really enjoy this type of surface because the play can be really fast on it, and the speed of the ball really improves their technique.
"Facilities like this are incredibly important. Youngsters in this country do not have the same weather conditions as some of their European counterparts so the draw to play football in this country has to be facilities like this one."
The pitch will be available for the local community as well as the school and head teacher John Pout believes it will have a big impact on his pupils.
"There is no doubt that our students' communication and teamwork skills get better they more they play sport, but equally they become much better in how they organise their lives and are healthier as a result," he said. "It’s a massive win-win for every child who takes part in sport.
"The Premier League Community Facility Fund is all about providing sports facilities that reinvigorate local communities"
"We are extremely grateful to Brendan for opening the pitch. Our partnership with Liverpool Football Club, their Foundation and local clubs is fantastic and long may that continue."
Ibe, who joined Liverpool's Academy in 2011 and is a key member of the club’s team in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League, said the school will really benefit from the new facility.
"Facilities like this are really important," he said. "I remember that before this new pitch was here it was just a field but this new 3G pitch is the closest thing to grass and is great for training and playing matches on. When I first started playing football I played on some really bad surfaces, definitely none as nice as this. I wish this was around back then!"
The PLCFF, funded by the Premier League and delivered by the Football Foundation, is investing £18m over three years to develop new or refurbished sports facilities across the country. The Fund is open to all football club community-led organisations from the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference. The new PLCFF-enhanced sites will also help to strengthen links between professional football clubs and their communities, and will become venues for the clubs’ outreach work.
"The Premier League Community Facility Fund is all about providing sports facilities that reinvigorate local communities, and we are extremely pleased that Rainhill School and the surrounding area will benefit from a new 3G pitch," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said. "Liverpool has never had far to look for inspiration with local talent like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
"As Premier League clubs continue to play an active role as hubs of their communities, this pitch will provide more people with an opportunity to enjoy the game and emulate their heroes."