Sheffield United embark on community training tour

25 November 2009

Malaysian Coaching Clinic

As part of the Sheffield United Masters Team’s trip to Asia for this year’s EPL Masters Football Malaysia Cup (with shirts sponsored by Capita Symonds), Blades Academy Director Ron Reid and the legendary squad have embarked on a community training programme tour of Vietnam and Malaysia.

The footballing journey was run in conjunction with Sheffield United partners the GAC Group, Capita Symonds, ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ and Macron. The project provided an opportunity to support a number of grassroots football projects in a diverse range of communities in an area where English football enjoys a massive following.

The response from the youngsters, teachers and local coaches has been overwhelming

Mike Farnan, executive director at Sheffield United explained: “Sheffield United has a track record for supporting community projects back home. With the help of our partners we wanted to take this approach to Asia by supporting grassroots football in Vietnam and Malaysia. The response from the youngsters, teachers and local coaches has been overwhelming.”

The coaching tour kicked-off at the Vietnam My Dingh National Stadium, where Ron Reid and Blades Community Development Manager Mark Todd put the Vietnamese Hanoi FC Under-15 team through their paces during a two hour training programme.

The following day saw Reid and Todd host a training session at the Vietnam National Coaching Complex with Under-11 and Under-13 squads from the local junior club Viettel FC. Former England and Blades goalkeeper Alan Hodgkinson MBE made a guest appearance, supporting Alan Wright and Sasa Ilic in providing the eager group of youngsters with a masterclass in football skills and training exercises. ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ goodie bags were also awarded by the legends to star pupils.

One of the highlights of the visit saw the Sheffield United coaches and Masters Team greeted by over 100 children in Malaysia a few days later. The training session was hosted at the Royal Selangor, which is landmark location in Kuala Lumpur. This grassroots activity was organised by the GAC Group, as part of a reward scheme for under-privileged children from Malaysia.

The Masters Team completed their Malaysia leg of the community tour with a visit to the Alice Smith International School. This was to support the not-for-profit international primary and secondary school that serve the expatriate community of Kuala Lumpur.

Ron Reid commented: “This has been a truly rewarding experience for me and all the players. Overcoming the communication barrier proves that football is a universal language. The youngsters all share an amazing enthusiasm for football and were generally excited to be given the opportunity to learn more about the game. We hope our short stay in Asia will have a lasting effect on grassroots football in Asia.”