Colchester United is one of 90 professional football clubs funded to run weekly Premier League Kicks sessions, which has engaged over 350 young people across North Essex so far this year. Premier League Kicks has delivered over one million hours of free football and multi-sports sessions, with Colchester United playing their part, delivering 4 sessions a week, across 4 different venues.
One of our young Premier League Kicks participants has spoken of the joy he feels and the skills he has gained, thanks to his regular attendance at Premier League Kicks in Clacton.
Eddie, who is originally from the Netherlands, moved over to England in August 2021. Eddie says that through the programme, he has made friends, been made to feel welcome in a new country and improved not only his technical football ability, but his physical fitness too.
I spoke to Eddie about what he most enjoys about attending our Wednesday evening sessions.
Watching Eddie play, it is clear to see the rapport that he has built with other participants and he isn’t shy of showing off his leadership skills either. Determined for his team in orange to win the final game of the night, Eddie shouts “Don’t give up if you lose the ball!”
When asked about how much he enjoys coming to our sessions and what impact he would feel if they weren’t on offer to him, Eddie responded “Yes I certainly enjoy them, of course. It’s a pleasure for me to play with you guys and I think it helps my technique too.”
Discussing the thought of not having this session on offer, Eddie reflected on times when the session hasn’t been running, due to weather conditions or venue closures. “Sometimes I feel sad if the session is cancelled and get really bored. I enjoy having the chance to come and try to become an idol.”
When living in the Netherlands, Eddie played for a local grassroots side, which he enjoyed being part of with his friends, but felt he didn’t have as many opportunities to improve his all-round game and try new positions. Thanks to PL Kicks, Eddie says that he now feels he could play as a defender or as a midfielder, on either side of the pitch. It isn’t only Eddie’s football skills that he has felt an improvement in, either, but also his physical fitness.
“Now that we are in the sports hall, I feel my stamina is used more and has improved. I don’t just use my pace now but I have to run more.”
Away from PL Kicks, Eddie has come across lots of the other participants in school tournaments or playing for local teams. This has helped him to understand how to switch between competitive and friendly.
“The hardest person to play against is my best friend, Phillip. When we are here we go easy on each other but away from this we try to push each other more and go harder. Some of the players that we see at schools, we have handshakes when we are outside of football competitions but we know that when we face each other, it’s serious and we switch off from being friends.”
Such important skills will continue to support Eddie in not only his football, but in his everyday life.