Wales international footballers joined the Welsh coaches of the future at a Swansea Primary School today to take part in the ground-breaking ‘Lidl Play More Football’ programme launched by Lidl, The Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Football Trust.
Cardiff City defender Jazz Richards and Wales women’s international Nadia Lawrence joined junior ‘Directors of Football’ from Olchfa High School who were passing on skills to children from Parkland Primary School.
Lidl Play More Football is a unique football coaching scheme delivered by young people, for young people. This peer-led approach will see 1,000 young people become ‘Directors of Football’ giving them the chance to become the next generation of Wales football coaches and get more kids active in Wales.
The scheme provides them with the skills to plan, organise and deliver inclusive, fun and easy-to-play football activities to engage their peers who do not currently play the game. Lidl Play More Football will enable 30,000 children to play football, the most popular sport in Wales, across the country over the next three years.
It has been rolled out successfully in secondary schools across Wales but is now expanding to primary schools where the upskilled secondary school participants will be helping to coach the younger children. A strong focus is also placed on encouraging more young girls to participate in the sport, which has gained popularity.
Lidl’s investment in the programme helps provide the Directors of Football with the facilities, equipment and training to enable them to lead and run football activities. Supported by teacher mentors and The FAW coaches, the Directors of Football will be able to develop their leadership skills, grow in confidence and apply learnings to other areas of their lives.
And after taking part in the youth-led coaching session Richards was delighted with the high level of coaching and said he was confident that the future of Welsh football coaching looked bright.
Richards said: “I loved getting involved in the Lidl Play More Football coaching– the Directors of Football were brilliant and really engaged the primary school children.
“I wanted to come down because the Lidl Play More Football sounded like such a good idea. I don’t remember us having anything like this when I was coming through as a young player.
“It was nice to see their faces when we arrived. Nadia and I saw a lot of potential today – there were definitely some good young players, you never know, maybe for the next generation of the Welsh team!”
Lawrence commented: “It’s really good to see how many girls have got involved in this programme.
“I saw quite a few skills that were better than me, but that’s really good!”
Lidl Play More Football will get more kids playing football whilst also developing the next generation of coaches and leaders. The peer-led weekly secondary school sessions will introduce 10,000 young people to football, whilst the weekly primary school activity sessions will engage a further 20,000 children to get active, learn new skills and enjoy the game.
Jamie Clewer, Head of Growth at The Welsh Football Trust added: “The young people we’ve worked with love taking part in the Lidl Play More Football programme. The initiative isn’t just about playing football it’s about leadership, communication and the young Directors of Football finding out what their peers want from sessions.
“It’s been a great start to the scheme and we’ve been delighted with the reaction so far. Already we’ve got around 5,800 children playing football off the back of the scheme, and that number is only going to rise with the introduction of Lidl Play More Football to Primary schools across Wales.”
Ryan McDonnell, Lidl UK Purchasing Director said: “This unique initiative allows Lidl to play a direct role in giving more boys and girls a chance to get playing and fall in love with football. We’re absolutely delighted to support this approach which will allow young people in Wales to coach younger children and shape the future of the game.
“Through our stores across Wales and this partnership we want to build a real relationship with local communities and give something back.”
As well as partnering with the FAW, Lidl is also providing a platform to communicate the benefits of football to more boys, girls and their families, creating lasting and positive change. Lidl is committed to supporting families in achieving a balanced lifestyle, helping children get active through football and offering fresh produce for nutritious meals to suit any budget.
For information on how to register for Play More Football please visit: www.welshfootballtrust.org.uk/LidlPlayMore