The Chelsea Foundation’s youth inclusion team have worked with the Street Soccer Foundation over the course of 10 weeks. To celebrate the end of the programme, nine participants were invited to take part in a tournament at St George’s Park, the home of England’s national teams.
The collaboration with the Street Soccer Foundation saw a group of 16-25 year-olds take part in classroom sessions focused on goal setting, mindset and interview techniques as well as getting active in on-pitch football sessions.
The Street Soccer Foundation uses football as a catalyst to help educate, up-skill and inspire young people. The programme completed with the Chelsea Foundation used football and workshop activities to help develop a positive mindset, enabling the young people to believe in themselves to achieve their goals.
As part of the trip to St George’s Park, the young people on the programme also delivered a presentation about their time on the course before taking to the prestigious training pitches.
Callum Salhotra, senior youth inclusion officer at the Chelsea Foundation, said: ‘To be part of the Street Soccer Cup was amazing and such a great event. All of our players have been in the UK for one year or less and being part of Street Soccer has been a great way to integrate them into a new country. This programme has shown how football can unite people and is a universal language.
‘In terms of the tournament, the players represented themselves and Chelsea fantastically and are a real credit to the course. Having them stand up in a group and speaking in a new language was fantastic. All players felt part of a team and helped each other reach their goals.’
Young people on the Foundation team came from Sudan, El Salvador, Afghanistan and Gambia.
A total of 143 participants took part in the tournament, with representation from numerous other club foundations. The Chelsea Foundation contingent ran out winners of the Street Soccer Plate Cup, while West Ham won the Street Soccer Cup.
Mel Muhanguzi, senior crimes intervention officer at the Chelsea Foundation, said: ‘Street Soccer was a fantastic opportunity for all of us, both participants and facilitators, to remind ourselves of the importance of wanting more for ourselves by setting goals and holding ourselves accountable in order to achieve them.
‘We’ve all had something to take away from our time together and hope we can all hold onto the important lessons learned.’
Essam Ahmed, a participant on the programme, added: ‘I really liked Street Soccer and would like to thank staff members Mel, Tony and Callum for their help. I love football and this was a great experience for me.’
For more information about the road to St George’s Park for our participants, watch this video.