Communities

Lopetegui: Children need to play football in safe environment

13 Apr 2023

Head coach makes surprise visit to Wolves Foundation's Premier League Kicks programme

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Wolverhampton Wanderers' head coach Julen Lopetegui surprised local youngsters by hosting a coaching session at Wolves Foundation's Premier League Kicks programme.

Lopetegui and first-team coach Edu Rubio headed down to All Saints Network to get a greater understanding of the Foundation's work, including helping to combat youth knife crime in a city that has seen a 50 per cent increase in the past five years.

They oversaw coaching sessions and took part in a virtual reality workshop, where a VR headset was used to give participants a range of decisions which showed them consequences of getting involved in knife and gang crime.

See: Celebrating one million hours of PL Kicks

"It's very important for the community, to help the children to have this possibility, to have this facility to play football away from all of the dangerous things that they could face in the community," said Lopetegui.

Through the power of football, Premier League Kicks tries to reach vulnerable or socially isolated children who could be at risk of getting involved in crime.

"It's ultimately about creating safer and stronger communities," said Luke Shearing, community and cohesion manager at Wolves Foundation.

"They can socialise with people they've never met. They have a shared interest - they love Wolves. They love football and they can come and make friends, have a great time and be in a safe community."

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