7 Elite Academy is introducing a range of community measures to help players and their families access vital support during the third Covid-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom.
All grassroots football was stopped until mid-February at the earliest when restrictions were brought into force this month, following similar restrictions during 2020.
The youth football academy runs teams for hundreds of players in United Kingdom, United States and Africa, alongside a record-breaking annual tournament in Utah.
In Liverpool, 7 Elite Academy will work alongside partner community organisations to help players and their families during UK-wide restrictions.
Anthony Godfrey, President of 7 Elite Academy, said: “As we’re in a third lockdown in the UK, we are looking at what we during the first lockdown and what the players enjoyed.
“Our Home Technical Programme is returning, but of course with it now being winter we need to look at motivating players differently to get out and train when its cold, wet and windy.
“We will be looking after the mental health of players, who have had the game they love snatched away from them once again and they don’t know when it will return.
“School is different this time and more players are learning from home. We know that is also a challenge for parents, so we want them to know we are supporting them.
“Our Zoom player workshops will be an opportunity for players to access that support, but to also have the changing room banter and healthy personal contact they are missing during lockdown.
“We want our players know they are part of something really pro-active. They have support mechanisms from all different angles, whether it’s career, football, finding motivation for the next challenge in life.
“Parents might be finding this lockdown a challenge, so we want them to know we are supporting them and their children. We’re with them every step of the way during this unprecedented scenario.”
Significantly, 7 Elite Academy now has a close working partnership with Coaching Connexions, one of the UK’s leading providers of sports training and education courses.
That joint effort is designed to equip young people from 7 Elite Academy with the skills to pursue a career in professional sport while gaining a post-16 education.
Anthony added: “We’ve now got our college with 7 Elite Academy and Coaching Connexions. The support and resources from that partnership are accessible to the students, but also our younger players as well.
“It is proving to be invaluable and already, Conor from the college has set up a brilliant 50K Challenge running club for January. The response has been incredible, with many of our Under-15 and Under-13 players completing it in a few days.
“It is great credit to the guys that they found the motivation to get off the settee and out on the streets. The players who did it will really see the benefits when they return to playing football.
“A lot of our players have been filmed this year, so with Coaching Connexions we are now running analysis workshops for them to watch the games back, make notes and present to myself, the coach or the group.
“The players are really passionate about self-learning., These workshops help them with things they could improve on and why, but also how they improve going forward, based on their player profile, the team’s style and how they contribute to that.”
One of the central aims of 7 Elite Academy is to support the future ambitions of its young people, whether those ambitions are in sport, education or further afield.
As part of that support, the academy is introducing career workshops for players throughout the age ranges, using resources from across various industries.
“We want to support the schools, the parents, but most importantly the players around any career aspirations they have and what it means for them to get on that career road,” Anthony said.
“The most important thing for the players is knowing how to get on that road. We are starting online career workshops for the UK during lockdown, but it is also something we will do constantly and on a global scale.
“We have our academies in Tanzania and the United States, where there is access to all sorts of different walks of life, in different countries, with so much potential.
“One of the foundation pillars of this academy is making the most of our resources across the world and being as effective as possible for our players.”