Terry turns coach at Premier League season launch

John Terry and Jose Mourinho joined representatives from the Chelsea Foundation and other Premier League clubs at the official season launch at a school in London on Wednesday morning.

The Chelsea manager and captain, who will be in action against Fiorentina at Stamford Bridge tonight, were at the Southfields Academy with their counterparts from Bournemouth, Swansea City and Crystal Palace to kick off the new campaign in style.

Terry spent time coaching and speaking with kids from a Chelsea-run Premier League Kicks project, which is based at the morning’s venue, the Southfields Academy in Wandsworth, just across the River Thames from Stamford Bridge.

‘It’s exciting with the season on the verge of starting. Everyone is getting geared up and ready, and this is part of the process,’ Terry told Chelsea TV. ‘When the fixtures come out it all gets going, pre-season is out of the way and it’s upon us now. We want to get a good start like last year.’

The skipper was impressed by the facility, and the coaching on offer to the children from each of the club’s community and Foundation coaches.

‘A lot is invested into the grass roots, as we’ve seen here today, giving kids a great opportunity and a facility to practice and play on,’ he said. ‘This wasn’t around when I was growing up so they’ve got a great head start.

‘There is great work being done behind the scenes by the Foundation guys, not just at Chelsea but the other clubs as well. The kids are getting some great coaching, the coaches are well qualified and well educated, passing on their experience. It’s great to see the kids enjoying themselves.’

Terry also gave a brief team talk to the youngsters representing Chelsea, and was hoping a Blues win against their opposition would represent a strong start to his managerial career.

‘I do enjoy coaching, it’s nice to pass on the knowledge but it’s also intimidating still, to hold that environment, but I do enjoy it and I’ll see where that takes me,’ he said.

Thankfully, we can look forward to more appearances at the heart of defence before he thinks about his next steps.

The current manager was also present and spent time chatting with the other managers before conducting a host of interviews overlooking the action.

The Southfields Academy has become a Wandsworth Borough sports hub since the development, in 2011, of a 3G artificial pitch and changing facilities, via a £500,000 grant from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund.

Held there are twice-weekly Kicks sessions run by Chelsea Academy coaches, designed to provide fun and engaging sporting opportunities for young people.

The project has an established track record of reducing levels of anti-social behaviour in the areas in which it is delivered. It also provides a link between community football and elite development in professional club Academies.

Additionally, it also hosts Premier League Girls sessions, which tackles the drop-off in girls’ sporting participation from 14 and above. This sees top-flight clubs, including Chelsea, deliver community football sessions for girls with a view to encouraging them to join local amateur football clubs.

Some of those who benefit on both programmes were present alongside JT this morning, as well as Swansea’s Ashley Williams, Palace’s Mile Jedinak and Bournemouth’s Tommy Elphick, who all joined together afterwards for a series of photos.

Terry will of course be reunited with Williams in the centre-circle at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, prior to our season opener against Swansea. We cannot wait.