Steven Gonzalez GFA

Steven Gonzalez GFA has 20 articles published.

The Art of the Game

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10 Years of UEFA Membership Captured by Gibraltar’s Football Photographers

‘The Art of the Game’ – Ten years of UEFA membership captures through the lenses of Gibraltar’s Football Photographers. 

On the 23rd of May 2013, the Gibraltar Football Association was admitted as UEFA’s 54th Member Association. This was a day that would change Gibraltarian football for good, both on and off the field of play

2023 marks ten years of this monumental day for football on the Rock, and in the build-up to the 10th anniversary of UEFA Membership, the Gibraltar FA commissioned an independent photographic exhibition telling the story of the last 10 years of Gibraltarian football as captured by Gibraltar’s football photographers.

Gibraltar’s football photographers spend countless hours at football matches and events all around Gibraltar and abroad, capturing magical moments on the field of play, very often with little or no recognition for their efforts and the work they put into each and every photograph they take.

Often, their photographs are used once in a social media gallery, newspaper, or online article about a particular match they are covering, and then the photograph gets consigned to history.

Titled “The Art of the Game – Captured by Gibraltar’s Football Photographers,” the exhibition ran for 3 weeks at the beginning of July at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery in Casemates.

Central to the project was the independent Curator Jon Segui. Jon, himself a passionate and well-known local photographer, meticulously put together an amazing exhibition that centered around inviting Gibraltar’s football photographers to contribute and submit their 10 best football images for each of the last 10 seasons (the seasons that Gibraltar has been a UEFA Member).

Once all the photos were submitted, a panel of 3 judges, comprising Jon himself (the exhibition’s curator), Leslie Linares (the Chair of the Gibraltar Photographic Society), and Artist and Teacher Karl Ullger, thoroughly assessed each photograph that was submitted and then selected the ten best images for each season, meaning one hundred photographs were put on display at the exhibition.

The independent judging panel was also tasked with selecting a photo of the season for each of the 10 seasons and, ultimately, a “Photo of the Decade,” which was unveiled at the exhibition’s official opening.

The judges made their decisions and selected the images on display in the exhibition based on photographic skill and artistic excellence, rather than the footballing context, subject, match, competition, or moment that a photograph represents.

At the exhibition, alongside the hundred photos selected by the panel, every photograph that was submitted was put on display on TV screens in the vaults at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery.

Neil Wilson was awarded the ‘Photo of the Decade’ by the judging panel for his extremely poignant and emotional photograph of the late great Sports Journalist, John Shephard (Senior), presenting his trophy at the annual veterans match to Gibraltar football legend Colin Ramirez.

The exhibition proved to be an overwhelming success, and the Gibraltar FA would like to express its immense gratitude to Curator Jon Segui, the exhibition judging panel, and all of the photographers who contributed. Here’s to the next ten years of Gibraltarian football and football photography!

Gibraltar Football Association

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5 in 5 Football Funday raises £3000.00

The Gibraltar FA held hugely successful and brilliantly attended football fun day at the Victoria Stadium, last on the 13th May,  which saw a corporate football challenge taking place alongside fun themed activities for kids such as ‘slip and slide’, ‘beat the keeper’, football based inflatable dart board challenges and the ever-popular jumping castles. 

The inclement weather and huge downpour, first thing in the morning, threatened to derail the whole event, thankfully however, the weather cleared and by mid-morning all the teams taking part in the football tournament had arrived and were raring to go. As the clouds cleared and the sun came out, the tournament promptly kicked off and the competitive streaks in each of the teams where there for all to see. 

Nat West and Peninsula eventually made it into the final and the two evenly matched teams could not be separated as the final whistle went, meaning a penalty shootout would decide the winner. It was the team from Nat West who kept their nerve and won the tournament.

As the corporate football challenge was taking place, the fun day all around the stadium was in full flow, with youngsters of all ages (and some not so young) ‘slipping and sliding’ and lining up to take penalties against Gibraltar Goalkeepers Bradley Banda and Gianna Grech. Both Goalkeepers got well into the spirit of the day and were throwing themselves around to the delight of the youngsters. 

Cancer Relief Gibraltar and the Cardiac Association, the two charities the 5in5 Challenge is raising money for, were also on hand during the fun day as they set up information and awareness stalls. 

The Gibraltar FA would like to thank all the teams that took part in the event, G&M Parties and Dining 54 Café for all of their help and assistance throughout the day. 

Gibraltar FA General Secretary, Ivan Robba, on presenting a cheque for £3,000 to the 5in5 stated:

“We are delighted that we have been able to put on an event which saw Gibraltarians of all ages come down to the Victoria Stadium and enjoy themselves whilst at the same time playing football. It was great to see so many youngsters smiling and having fun in the beat the keeper and other fun events whilst simultaneously watching the adults sweat it out on the pitch representing their various teams and organisations. 

We raised just over £2000 on the day, which the Gibraltar FA has topped up to £3000 and it’s an honour to present the funds to Charles and Adrian from the 5in5 team.” 

Gibraltar Football Association

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Walking Footballers at EuroCopa 2023

EuroCopa 2023 – Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

Gibraltar’s Walking Footballers (Gib WF) in the aged 60+, took part in the EuroCopa 2023 Walking Football international tournament held at Albufeira in the Algarve, Portugal on the 17th and 18th April 2023. 

The travelling party comprised 13 players and 6 officials including a referee and a Sports Therapist, at the tournament which took place in the Estadio Da Nora, Ferreiras, in Albufeira.

A total of 40 teams from 9 countries, split into two age categories of 50+ and 60+ had travelled to the popular Portuguese town in the herat of the Algarve, with Giibraltar competing in the 60+ age category which saw a total of 19 teams split into one group of 7 teams and 2 groups of 6 teams each. Gibraltar were drawn into Group 3 alongside East Algarve Olhao, Brackley Sinners, Pimlico Burgundians, SC Farense and West Hartlepool Strollers.

Day 1

The 17th April saw the group stages take place and Gibraltar’s walking footballers were on fire, finishing top of the group with a total of 13 points from a possible 15, and easing into the final stages scheduled for day 2 with some impressive results:

  • Gib WF 2 – SC Fearense 1,
    Goalscorers: Brian Mañasco,
    Albert Cumbo. 
  • Gib WF 3 – Pimlico 0, Goalscorers: Albert Cumbo and Gilbert Licudi.
  • Gib WF 1 – West Hartlepool 0, Goalscorer: Mario Glynn 
  • Gib WF 4 – Blackley Sinners 0, Goalscorers: Tony Gingell, Brian Mañasco, Mohamed Moudden and Andy Sene.
  • Gib WF 0 – East Algarve Olhao 0.

Day 2 

saw the top 3 teams of each group and the best placed 4th team split into two groups of 5. Gibraltar were drawn into in Group B alongside Bolton Nomads, Walking Lions, SC Farense and Cardiff City in what proved to be much tougher set of opponents. Nevertheless Gibraltar were undefeated throughout the group matches winning 1 and drawing three. A second-place group finish behind Walking Lions meant they were through to the semifinals:

  • Gib WF 0 – Cardiff City 0.
  • Gib WF 0 – Bolton Nomads 0.
  • Gib WF 1 – Walking Lions 0,
    Goalscorer: Mario Prescott.
  • Gib WF 2 – SC Farense 2,
    Goalscorers: Mario Prescott
    and Albert Cumbo. 

Sheffield FC, were Gibraltar’s semi final opponents in what proved to be highly contested game which could have gone either way. Unfortunately for Gibraltar Sheffield FC broke the deadlock with a well taken free kick and managed to hold to win the game despite an impressive Gibraltar performance. 

The final 

was between Sheffield FC and East Algarve Olhao and although Sheffield were considered the better team, East Algarve Olhao won the match after a penalty shoot out. 

Gibraltar then had to face Walking Lions in the third place playoff. Walking Lions were a team of Spanish players from Bilbao who impressed throughout the tournament not only because of their footballing ability and their skills but for their sportsmanship and friendly attitude to all the teams, in particular towards Gibratar. This game was played in the best spirit traditions of football which ensured both teams enjoyed it to the full. In the end an excellent goal from Gilbert Licudi clinched the game for Gibraltar and a third-place finish. 

The Gibraltar Walking Football Committee stated at the end of the tournament:

“The Walking Football Committee  would like to thank all the team at the Gibraltar FA for all their support in enabling Gib WF to participate in international tournaments such as this. Special mention must be made of Gabriel Benatar who was the Sports Therapist assigned by the Gibraltar FA to accompany the team in the Algarve this week. This is not the first time that Gabe has travelled with our Walking Footballers and once again his performance was second to none. His care and attention in the pre match preparations and throughout all the matches was instrumental in ensuring that all our players remained fit for play. 

A very proud achievement in finishing in 3rd place out of a total of 19 teams in the 60+ age category. Gib WF only lost one game throughout the tournament and that was the semifinal. The excellent preparative work and top class management, throughout the tournament, by the team manager Brian Mañasco ably assisted by Roy Stych and Mario Prescott, were crucial and central to the excellent results achieved by the team on the pitch in the Algarve. Once again in our short walking football history we have proved that our teams can compete at international level against the best with ability and confidence. The Gibraltar Flag flew very prominently and proud in the Algarve.”

Gibraltar Football Association

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Resilience Through Sport Sessions Delivered with The Mindspace Project to St Joseph’s Upper Primary School Year 3 Pupils. 

The Gibraltar Football Association and The Mindspace Project teamed up to deliver a resilience through sport session, to the Year 3 pupils, at St Joseph’s Upper Primary School during the March International Window as part of the school’s Project Week.  

The aim of the morning’s activities, which took place at the Europa Point Sports Complex,was to encourage the children to believe in themselves and demonstrate how when approaching anything that they may find themselves faced with, adopting a positive mindset with belief in themselves, they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

The sessions were run by Gibraltar FA Coaches and experts from the Mindspace Project’s Team and began with the children being divided into groups. First up the pupils were involved in various activities that encouraged them to trust each other and work as a team. 

The Mindspace Project then got the children to think about how their different feelings when they achieve something they have been striving for, and conversely and how they feel when they don’t achieve a particular goal or target, they may be setting themselves. With interaction a key part of the sessions, the pupils discussed theirspecific feelings and learned how to train their minds to transform negative thoughts into positive ones and alsohow to help their friends and classmates deal with any of their negative feelings.

The children were inspired to have a positive outlook and to believe in themselves and their abilities. Through the activities and using football as a vehicle they were shown and learned the importance of teamwork and the power of positive thinking. 

Another key part of the morning was the emphasis on the value of perseverance and how it is essential to overcome all obstacles and achieve success. This is something that is key to any footballer becoming successful in his or her career. 

The Gibraltar FA is committed to empowering children through sport and encouraging them to develop important life skills such as resilience, teamwork and positive thinking. The session with St Joseph’s Upper Primary School was a great success and the children left feeling motivated and inspired. The Association is committed to activities like these will continue to work with organisations like the Mindspace Project to do all it can to empower Gibraltar’s youngsters and help them realise their full potential whether it be in a sporting environment or in their general lives. 

Gibraltar Football Association

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Gibraltar FA February Mid-Term Camp proves another overwhelming success. 

With the February mid-term break now a feature in Gibraltar’s annual educational calendar, the Gibraltar FA’s Youth Development team set up a camp for children of all footballing abilities up to the age of 12 during the recent school holidays.

The camp run sessions every morning (expect the bank holiday Monday) during the February school holidays, at the Victoria Stadium, and saw over 300 children attend daily. 

Split into their school year groups, from Reception right up to Year 8, the children were able to enjoy fun themed football, mixing learning and competitive sessions, with the emphasis on enjoyment, all run by Gibraltar FA Coaches. 

In a change to recent camps, the mid-term camp was split into two with the younger children (aged to school year 3) taking part in the first of the morning sessions, and the older children (Years 4-8) attending the second session of the day. 

The camp also proved an excellent learning opportunity for the Gibraltar FA’s young new coaches, who were paired up with a more experienced colleagues to run the sessions allowing them to gain valuable experience. 

Additionally, amongst the coaches were current Gibraltar Internationals, such as Goalkeeper Dayle Coleing, all of whom proved to be a huge hit with all of the youngsters at the mid-term camp.  

The Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football Coordinator, Tiago Costa ,was thrilled with the way the week went, stating: 

“It has been a really good camp. We made some changes to our usual format in relation to splitting the camp up into two sessions but importantly, the kids have loved it, they have enjoyed it and they have all had fun which is the main thing! We are already planning ahead and looking forward to our Easter Camp which will take place in the next set of school holidays, and we can’t wait to see all of our young stars once again enjoying their football!”

Gibraltar Football Association

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New Safeguarding Policy Implemented across all of Gibraltar Football 

This safeguarding policy is a sign of the Association’s commitment to ensuring that football is both fun and safe for all children to participate in, irrespective of their age, ability, or level of involvement. 

Centred around five goals, or areas for action the policy will underpinthe Association’s work to prevent any risk of harm to children in football and to appropriately respond to any issues or concerns. These five goals are:

  • Laying the foundations for safeguarding
  • Ensuring organisational preparedness and prevention
  • Raising awareness
  • Working with others and reporting concerns
  • Measuring success in safeguarding 

The new policy deals in depth with areas such as a code of conduct for adults and parents. Another key focus are guidelines and documents to refer to on the supervision of children and minors when playing away from home and travel that includes overnight stays. Privacy and the correct and appropriate use of dressing rooms and changing facilities is also covered.  

A crucial part of the Association’s new safeguarding policy, is that anyone involved in football in Gibraltar wherever youngsters are playing, is required to complete UEFA’s online safeguarding courses and submit the relevant certificates of completion to the Association’s Safeguarding Officer. Failure to do so will mean that relevant coach or club official will not be allowed onto a pitch or pitch side to carry out their duties. 

For a more in depth read, please visit the dedicated safeguarding page on the Gibraltar FA website: each of the goals is broken down and explained in detail. 

Speaking bout the new policy,  Gibraltar FA Safeguarding officer Julian Valverde stated: “It has been a very busy summer for the association as we have revamped a lot of our working practices. Safeguarding has featured heavily, and we are pleased to announce our new safeguarding policy together with all the accompanying annexes to help our membership in this very important field”.

Gibraltar FA General Secretary Ivan Robbais delighted that the safeguarding policy has been rolled out stating: “ As a parent of young children myself, safeguarding has always been at the forefront of my thoughts when discussing youth football. In consultation with the GSLA, we have embarked on a new venture with UEFA, to provide our members an online platform to qualify in safeguarding. This by no means is the end of the instructional phase, as I am conscious of the benefits of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, we will continue providing personal development to our members by bringing out safeguarding guest speakers to carry out seminars on a biannual basis”

Gibraltar Football Association

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Gibraltar’s Referees prepare hard for new season

As the domestic action takes a break over the summer months referees and match officials face numerous off season seminars training sessions and fitness tests to ensure they are up to speed and are familiar with any new directives and laws which need to be applied in the 2022/23 season. 

FIFA Listed Referee Jason Barcelo, and his officiating team, have also seen some action over the summer with both European Club competition and international commitments taking him to Andorra and Wales to referee in various UEFA competitions. 

A key part of any preparation for a preseason is personal fitness. All referees are expected to achieve a certain level of fitness and conditioning to be able to officiate domestically. The Gibraltar FA’s Referee Fitness Coach, David Mitchell, prepares bespoke and training plans for each referee and before any season begins each referee is put through gruelling fitness testing. These levels of fitness are then monitored throughout the season to ensure our referees are in top condition.  

Key to readying themselves for any new season is the Referee’s pre-season seminar. This year held on the on 23rd and 24th September, the seminar was the final part of their preparations for the start of the Gibraltar Football League which began on the following weekend.

At the seminar, UEFA’s Referee Convention specialist responsible for Gibraltar, Alan Snoddy, delivered presentations on specific topics concerning their application of the Laws of the Game and refereeing techniques. Gibraltar FA Referee Manager Adrian Bacarisa also covered scenarios arising from last seasons’ domestic competitions as well specialised teambuilding exercises.

Importantly, all the presentations, at the seminar, encouraged active participation from all referees with interesting discussions arising during video clip analysis.

Two of our young match officials had the were delighted with the seminar commenting:

“I really enjoyed this pre-season seminar. The concept and material presented will most definitely be incorporated into my refereeing career. Asa result of this seminar I was able to view my fellow referees’ opinions and experiences and discus our points of view when it comes to challenging scenarios that could happen during game time. The team building exercises were exceptional and I strongly feel it has helped us by building a stronger rapport between the team members. So, we all cohesively work together towards our common goal. Our two presenters were Alan Snoddy from UEFA and Adrian Bacarisa our Referee Manager. Both presenters were extremely knowledgeable and offered valuable information and terrific tips which I will defiantly be taking on board.” –  Fausti Guerrero

“It has been an extremely rewarding experience, improving our knowledge, refreshing our understanding of IFAB’s Laws of the Game. Unusual situations were discussed of which we should be aware. It was a pleasure to have Alan Snoddy once again with us because he brings us a point of view and experiences that we have never lived. Helping in our development as match officials and as responsible individuals. We are looking forward to the start of the Gibraltar Football League on 30th September finding ourselves ready for the challenges that the new season will bring.” – Ruben Navarro

Anyone who is interested in becoming a referee can get in touch with the Gibraltar FA via email on 

Gibraltar Football Association

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Annual Gibraltar FA Summer Camp proves an overwhelming success. 

Given the huge interest in previous editions of the summer camp, especially last summer post all  COVID restrictions, this year’s camp would be split in to two weeklong blocks. The split would allow parents to register their children for either week 1 or week 2 of the camp and consequently, from a participation angle, ensure that more children than ever would be able to take part. Within a couple of days over three hundred children had signed up!

Planning for the camp, including appointing coaches and delegates, as well as meticulously preparing session plans for each day began well before the July start date. This allowed the Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football department to call upon the services of players from Gibraltar’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams as part of the coaching team. Familiar faces such as Shania Robba, Joelle Gilbert, Jayce Olivero, Anthony Hernandez, Daliah Salah, Josie Cummings, Kayliegh Tellez and Mollie Karp all proved to be extremely popular faces with the youngsters.

All sessions at the camp were run according to the children’s school year groups. With the emphasis of the camp being on fun, irrespective of footballing abilities and enjoying football with no pressures attached, the children were able to do so in a comfortable and familiar environment with their school friends and colleagues.

This year’s camp also saw the introduction of the Gibraltar FA’s mascots Tarik, Barbara and Nelson, all of whom were named thanks to a hugely successful social media competition and the three of the mascots went down a treat with all the children loving them. 

The Gibraltar FA’s Youth Football Coordinator, Tiago Lino Da Costa, was thrilled with the response, turnout and feedback from the youngsters and their parents alike about the Summer Camp stating:

“We have had an exciting couple of weeks with a great turnout, a variety of age groups from reception all the way up to year 7. They have all enjoyed it which is the main thing and moving to Europa Point has allowed all the groups to be together and the parent close by to watch their children enjoying their football.”

The focus for youth football on the Rock now turns on to new and exciting programmes for youngsters as well as the September start of Gibraltar’s Youth Leagues.  

Gibraltar Football Association

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June 2022 saw one of the busiest ever international windows for Gibraltar’s Men’s National Teams with seven international fixtures jammed into a 14 day period, four of which were away from home. 

The Men’s National Team were scheduled to play in four UEFA Nations League matches, in what was to be their debut in League C of the competition, having won promotion from League D in the 2020 edition of the Nations League. Four internationals in one window was also somewhat of a unique situation, owing to the changes made due to the winter world cup, as outside of major tournament finals, no European international window will usually feature four competitive matches. 

Georgia Away, North Macedonia at home, Bulgaria at home and then North Macedonia away was to be Gibraltar’s gruelling schedule of League C Group 4 fixtures for June, and despite two difficult away days in Tbilisi and Skopje, losing 4-0 respectively in both matches, the home games against North Macedonia and Bulgaria were huge positives. Unlucky not to win both, a 2-0 defeat to North Macedonia somewhat flattered the Macedonians with Gibraltar squandering the better chances. The second home game of the week was even better for Gibraltar as they dominated against the pre-tournament group favourites – Bulgaria.  Despite conceding a soft goal just on half time a second half Liam walker penalty secured a 1-1 draw with Gibraltar once again having plenty of chances to go on and win the game.       

Gibraltar’s Under 21s also has two of their three matches this June away from home and difficult away trips in the Netherlands and Wales saw them lose 6-0 and 2-0 respectively. However, like the Gibraltar’s National Team, 2 three days before them, they were to have their moment against Bulgaria U21s when they held them to a 1-1 draw at the Victoria Stadium. Ironically and identically, it was a second half penalty that sealed the draw which could have been so different if they had taken their chances. Nevertheless, the result was a tremendous one.   

For many nations, for many national football teams of any age group, for many football associations and federations, two home 1-1 draws in the space of three days may not be much to shout about. For Gibraltar and Gibraltarians all around the world it is the complete opposite. Two 1-1 draws, one in a senior men’s international and another at men’s U21 level are two results to treasure.

Bulgaria are the nation that produced Hristo Stoichkov, and his band of brothers who reached the semi finals of USA ’94. In more recent times they have been spearheaded by Dimitar Berbatov alongside Stilyan and Martin Petrov. Bulgaira are the team that were in League B of the previous edition of the UEFA Nations League. Gibraltar is a team, that in their eyes, should not be a problem for them. 

A country with a population of 6.9 million humbled by two draws in three days at the Victoria Stadium. And, in truth, when one looks back upon the two games Bulgaria can consider themselves fortunate to leave Gibraltar with two draws when arguably they should have left with two defeats. 

Gibraltar’s goal scorers, two offensive midfielders at different ends of their careers, Liam Walker and Dylan Peacock both clinically slotted away their spot kicks under the iconic gaze of the Rock of Gibraltar, however in these two ‘David versus Goliath’ fixtures the performances were team efforts with not one player in the Gibraltar shirt shirking responsibility, hard work, grit, determination or an ounce of passion in playing for their shirt, their fans and their country. Both results masterminded by Head Coaches Julio Ribas and David Ochello and their sensational backroom team and support staff.

Two draws. Yes, two draws, but for Gibraltar they mean more. In terms of the size of our nation, our population, our footballing infrastructure, the number of pitches available to us, these results simply should not happen. 

But football simply isn’t played on paper. It is played with heart, passion, desire and a willingness to pull on your nations jersey and simply give every ounce of energy, putting your body on the line, being first into the tackle, first to make that all important block. It’s blood, sweat and tears, and when this is combined with Gibraltarian grit and sheer determination to punch above our weight, anything is possible!  

Gibraltar FA launches its all-new schools coaching Team

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The Gibraltar FA’s new School Coaching team has been visiting a selection of local schools in recent weeks, delivering fun themed football sessions tailored towards all schoolchildren no matter what their football knowledge and skill levels may be.

Under the guidance of the Association’s Football Development Officer, Scott Wiseman, the team includes Gibraltar Men’s National Team Players Jayce Olivero, Julian Valarino, Anthony Hernandez and Kian Ronan (absent from the photo) alongside Chris Ward, Jake Victor, Kaira Sene, Alan Martin and Dan Bent (also absent from photo). Players from the Gibraltar Women’s National Teams will be joining the programme shortly. 

The Association’s school team have begun regular sessions this term during daily P.E. sessions at Notre Damn Lower Primary School, Governor’s Meadow Lower Primar School, St Joseph’s Lower Primary School and Bishop Fitzgerald Upper Primary School with other schools around Gibraltar joining the programme in the new school year. 

As part of the programme the Gibraltar FA will be providing the schools with equipment such as footballs and bibs for their use. 

The Gibraltar FA’s Football Development Officer, Scott Wiseman said:

“We are delighted that our Schools Programme is up and running and I would like to thank the schools and the Department of Education for all of their help and assistance.

As the new school year starts in September, we want to be able to have our coaches visit all local schools, to make fun and enjoyable football an integral part of the P.E. curriculum, for children of all footballing abilities. And by using our Men’s and Women’s National Team players as role models all those aspiring young footballing stars of the future can enjoy being coached by our internationals as well as look up to and dream of one day emulating them.

I would also like to thank all of the teachers, at all of the schools we have visited so far, and those we are planning to visit in the future for the amazing welcome they have given all of our coaches and integrating our team into their P.E. sessions.” 

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