The Chelsea Foundation recently provided Herne Bay Academy with an exciting behind-the-scenes tour of our Cobham Training Ground which included a surprise visit from Chelsea legend and club ambassador Tore Andre Flo.

Having linked up with Herne Bay High School in September, the Foundation gave the players who attend the school’s football Academy the opportunity to see the first-class facilities at Cobham and watch the Chelsea Under-18s train.

Aged between 16-18 years-old, the players were also shown a presentation which gave them an insight into the Chelsea Academy and how much hard work goes into nurturing and developing players from the age of seven before taking part in a Q&A with former Blues forward Flo in which he advised the young hopefuls on what they need to do to progress in the game.

Chelsea Foundation assistant development manager Steve Tapley said: ‘Chelsea FC Foundation are pleased to have an association with Herne Bay High School and the visit was a good opportunity to enhance our relationship with the school to add value to our ongoing football academy programme.

‘It was a great opportunity for Herne Bay players to appreciate the club’s training ground and to experience watching the U18’s team train, led by former Chelsea player and now coach, Joe Cole.’

Ricky Owen, who teaches full time at Herne Bay High School, said: ‘I’m vice-chairman at Margate Football Club and I also teach at the school.

‘We have a partnership between Margate Football Club and Herne Bay High School and so we do all the education at Herne Bay High School and obviously all the coaching, the recruitment and play all ours game at the football club.

‘Our connection with the Chelsea Foundation is an added extra and they offer us these types of unique days to try and aid recruitment and give our players experiences that they can’t get anywhere else.

‘I hope that coming here will tie into a lot of the stuff we speak to the players about. They mentioned mentality a lot and every single week we talk about mentality and it’s been shown in our performances and so if the players take anything from today, I hope that is the stand out part.

‘Also, I hope the visit is a bit of an eye opener in terms of how far they are away from this as well in terms of making sure they’ve got their plan B. Whether that’s university or whatever it is, today is a reality check in a nice way for them.’

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