FeatureAcademy column: Exam results and U18s take on Anfield Abseil
In our latest Academy column, education manager Caitlin Hawkins talks to us about Liverpool's U18s squad taking the Anfield Abseil challenge.
As always with our education programme, we like to take our boys out of their comfort zone because it is important for their development as a person as well as a player.
On Thursday August 24, it was a big day for our new U18s cohort as not only did the first-year scholars collect their GCSE results in the morning, they were challenged to face the Anfield Abseil in the afternoon.
As full-time players with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side, they are about to begin a footballing journey that will expose them to many challenges, along with the ups and downs of a potential career within the game. This activity aimed to provide the players with a challenge and potentially daunting opportunity.
For the new first-year scholars, is there any better way of introducing them to Anfield, our home and the place they want to be their home on a regular basis in the future?
This was one of our activities to engage our boys with the city and the badge. It was part of our life skills and personal development programme, and also part of the ‘Our Club, Our City’ module.
This gave us the opportunity to not only go down to Anfield but to challenge us physically and mentally to take on this challenge.
Bridgey led by example and showed the boys how it’s done by taking the abseil first, along with our U18s education officer Ted Smith and myself – we were first off the top! Jay Spearing would have also taken part but he was on the coach down to Southampton with the U21s.
I think it was also good for the boys to see us out of our comfort zone and to lead by example. I don’t think the lads would say they enjoyed it but they certainly enjoyed it when everyone had come down!
We all went up to the top of the Main Stand and did the abseil in groups of two. Within that hour, the winds got up so that created a bit of discussion amongst the boys. But it was just a beautiful view and it was amazing being at the top of the Main Stand on the roof.
It gives you a real sort of clear idea around the scale and where we are based in the city, and this is a brilliant way to introduce them to the badge that they wear day in, day out.
To be fair, the boys really did get out of their comfort zone. Some of them really didn’t want to do it but they did and tested themselves and they thrived on it. When they were at the bottom holding their certificates, that’s when the smiles came.
Ted, our U18s education officer, said: “Last season we started the ‘Our Club, Our City’ initiative as part of our scholar induction period, so this is the second season our U18s have had this education around the history and culture of our club and the city it represents.
“The aim is to educate our players about the city of Liverpool and the club that they play for.
“This abseil was an addition from last year’s experiences and it exposes our new players to the size and scale of the club.
“When the players are stood on top of the Main Stand with views across the city and waterfront, it really highlights the stature of this club both within the city and beyond.”
We also want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our boys on their GCSE and A-Level results. We had some outstanding results and we also had our biggest ever cohort of A-Level results.
Isaac Mabaya, for example, received an A-Level in business, Niall Osborne did really well, and Elijah Gift and Luke Hewitson both achieved an A-Level in Spanish.
Paul Glatzel, now more of a senior U21s player, took the opportunity to do an A-Level and got an A in biology – which is amazing, so well done!
Paul, of course, has had really bad luck with injuries these last few years but it was great to see him back on the pitch for the U21s last weekend against Middlesbrough. This is a great example of a player using his time wisely and we are really proud of him.
We also want to say a special thank you to all the staff at Anfield for looking after us and thanks to the staff at the Stadium and Tours [team] and also Wire and Sky, which is the company that does the abseils.
Find out how you can take part in the Anfield Abseil here.
Caitlin Hawkins was speaking with Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter