Premier League Kicks is one of the Premier League’s flagship community programmes
Wigan Athletic Community Trust launched the third season of Premier League North West Kicks League at Wigan Youth Zone on Wednesday evening, with 10 teams competing in a five-a-side tournament to mark the new campaign.
Representatives from the Premier League were in attendance at the event, which saw Liverpool Football Club’s Foundation come out on top in a thrilling final with an impressive victory over Bolton Wanderers’ Community Trust.
Premier League Kicks is one of the Premier League’s flagship community programmes and uses the power of football and the value of sports participation to help hard-to-reach youngsters in some of the most high-need areas.
Siobhan Atkinson, Community Development Executive for the Premier League, said: “We’re now celebrating our tenth year of delivering the Kicks Programme, and are delighted to have so many clubs across the North West involved, as its great opportunity for players to show off their skills.
She continued: “Wigan Athletic are having a real impact in their community, and are taking Kicks into areas where it is most needed. They really bring something to the lives of young people in the area, which makes a difference as they have genuine outcomes for them.”
Through the Kicks Project, the Community Trust provides free football and sports coaching to 12–19 years for 2 to 3 nights a week, 48 weeks of year in 8 different areas of Wigan, and last season worked with 1167 young people.
Guest of honour at the tournament was Academy player Nathan Randall who just two years ago was playing in the same event where he was talent spotted by the Football Club.
Nathan said: “I wouldn’t be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for Kicks. It’s a great place to be seen because there’s so many scouts coming to watch games, but more importantly it allows you to have fun with friends and just enjoy the game of football.”
Tom Drake, Community Cohesion Co-ordinator for Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: “Playing in matches against other football clubs is just one of the things we offer young people involved in Kicks.
“What was great about Wednesday night was that all of the apprentices who were helping to run the matches were all Kicks participants at one point, and the scheme has helped to give them a pathway to training and employment with us.”
As well as being funded nationally by the Premier League, Kicks is also supported locally by Wigan and Leigh Homes, and for more information about the project please contact Community Cohesion Co-ordinator Tom Drake on 01942 488 530 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.