Foundation team meet Conte and players


Features 13/12/2017

Antonio Conte took time out to meet one of the Chelsea Foundation’s Disability Inclusion teams on Sunday as they prepare to play at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

The Under-12 pan-disability team were at Cobham on Sunday for their final training session ahead of playing against their counterparts from Southampton at half-time during the Saints’ visit on Saturday.

Prior to that session the players popped along to watch the first-team train and they were in for a surprise after training as Conte, joined by Danny Drinkwater and other members of the squad, met the youngsters to discuss the game and hand out some Christmas treats.

The youngsters on show are just a small example of the wide-ranging work the Chelsea Foundation does for players with disabilities. This includes cerebral palsy teams and players with acquired brain injuries.

The Chelsea Foundation runs 11 pan-disability teams from the Under-8 age group upwards, for males and females of all abilities and disabilities. Plenty of work is put in not just coaching the players, but also engaging with teachers and coaches to give them the confidence to work with children with disabilities.

Among the coaches at the latest session at Cobham was Surrey area co-ordinator Marc Plumbley, who has worked for the Chelsea Foundation for almost two years and will join the youngsters at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

Plumbley said: ‘Meeting the manager and players was an incredible opportunity for these players and they will gain so much from the experience.  It also doesn’t end there as next week they will play at Stamford Bridge which really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

‘Our work with these children isn’t just about football, it is about social interaction and they will gain so much confidence from talking to the manager and Danny, who it would appear is now their favourite player!

‘I hope all the fans get behind them at the weekend as they will be so happy to play at Stamford Bridge and proud to represent Chelsea against Southampton.’

Prior to the event there was a further Christmas treat for a group of young Chelsea fans as they spent the morning watching training before meeting their heroes.

The Community Day was arranged via the Chelsea Foundation, with the young fans and other members of their families watching the first team train before meeting the players afterwards for pictures and autographs.

Our Community Day happens regularly over the course of the season with the Chelsea Foundation linking up with a range of charities and individuals to arrange visits for seriously or terminally ill supporters and their carers, giving them a well-deserved boost in what is obviously a difficult time for them and their families.