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Croydon soccer school teaches children to love sport

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A FOOTBALL coaching programme which celebrated its second anniversary this year has achieved a remarkable boost in numbers – from 14 to 700 members.

Skillz Coaching is now seeing up to 70 children at its Saturday classes and its other programmes are nearly fully booked. Five boys from its courses have gone on to trial with Premier League clubs, with two successfully signing.

Skillz founder Ashley Thomas said: "Our motto is very simple and everything we do is based around this – 'Releasing the sports star in your child'.

"Through our fun approach we allow children to discover and love sport. What they do with that is up to them."

Mr Thomas, who started his professional coaching career at Chelsea aged 18, currently coaches at Fulham.

"The main thing we base ourselves on is being bubbly and vibrant for the kids, to be entertainers for them so they can learn to love the sport," he said.

"A lot of similar companies who do what we do will sell it to the parents that they will develop their child into an amazing footballer and they'll sign for the Premiership, but so often it doesn't happen like that.

"The way we teach the kids, it is up to them whether they choose to progress to an academy or go professional. We just want to get children to enjoy the sport in a new way."

The scheme now works with 16 nurseries, three children's centres and two schools. The programme is also looking to expand into other sports including tag rugby and basketball.

"We are competing with other franchises in the area, but we are more popular than them. It is definitely going in the right direction," said Mr Thomas.

"We've started doing bits and bobs in Sutton, and are looking to do more because the parents are crying out for it. We want to tap into Shirley and Addiscombe too.

"The summer holidays are a really busy time for us. There is a lot going on, we are just trying to find the right team of people."

For more details, visit www.skillzcoaching.co.uk

Croydon soccer school teaches children to love sport


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