LFC Foundation and the club's kit partner, Nike, have teamed up to launch Game On – a new collaborative programme to help more local youngsters access and benefit from a range of sports in their local area, as well as providing coaching opportunities through a new coaching academy.
Game On will support young people aged seven to 12 from marginalised communities – specifically children from the Black and Asian community, girls and children of all abilities – by providing them with opportunities to become members of local, diverse sports clubs and play a variety of sports, including boxing, tennis, cricket, athletics, basketball, cycling, gymnastics and much more.
The programme will also involve the creation of a new coaching academy, which will inspire participants to play and coach sports, creating opportunities for a lifelong pathway. The academy will also have a specific focus on recruiting from marginalised communities to help remove any barriers to sport that may exist.
LFC Foundation will mentor the coaches and provide them with work experience and training opportunities across Liverpool Football Club and through local grassroots clubs.
Game On already has some top sports professionals on board as ambassadors, including Curtis Jones and world champion athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Their ambassador roles will involve supporting the programme as it develops, including visiting local sessions when possible.
LFC Women midfielder Missy Bo Kearns also visited the first Game On session at Anfield Sports and Community Centre this week to sample some of the sports on offer and provide plenty of encouragement to the youngsters.
Every week, 10 multi-sports sessions will take place in local schools and community venues across the Liverpool City Region. This number is expected to rise to 20 sessions in the programme’s second year, with the goal of engaging more than 2,000 local participants every year.
Game On will also look to expand the number of local sports clubs involved in the programme, increase the number of youngsters joining their local sports clubs and strive for ambitious goals to drive more inclusivity from marginalised and diverse communities.
Matt Parish, chief executive at LFC Foundation, said: “We are so proud to be working with Nike on this exciting new programme because we are both driven by a passion for sports and a desire to help young people thrive and become the best possible versions of themselves through the power of sport.
“Game On absolutely encompasses this ambition by creating talent pathways for participants and coaches, and making sport a real career option by removing barriers to opportunity.”
Dan Burrows, Nike’s senior director of social and community impact, EMEA, added: “Play and sport can have a positive, lifelong impact on kids. But not all kids get the opportunity to participate. Girls and kids from marginalised communities face additional barriers, including a lack of diverse opportunities to engage in play and sport as well as fewer coaches or role models who look like them.
“Our partnership with LFC Foundation represents a unique opportunity to tackle these challenges head on and provide more kids with opportunities to access and benefit from play and sport. By inspiring and enabling all kids to play, we’re working to create a more equitable future.”
Alongside LFC Foundation and Nike, Game On is also supported by the Premier League Professional Footballers’ Association Community Fund, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Sports Partnership.
Jones said: “I am delighted to be a part of the Game On programme with LFC Foundation and Nike. It is so important that every youngster has the opportunity to access sport and great coaching in a friendly and safe environment. Sport should be for everyone with no barriers or limitations to success.”
Johnson-Thompson added: “I am really pleased to be able to lend my support to Game On as part of my wider LFC Foundation ambassador role. Ensuring that youngsters of all abilities from marginalised communities have equal access to sports is so important and it is something that I am personally very passionate about.
“I had the pleasure of speaking virtually to some of the staff and young participants involved in Game On and it was fantastic to see their excitement and enthusiasm for what is to come.”
Find out more about Game On here.