Liverpool Football Club today announced the launch of the Club’s first full-time coaching programme in Japan, together with partner Sports Management International (SMI).

The project, which will initially focus on the Tokyo metropolitan area, will officially start from August 2014 and will provide a unique opportunity for young players to learn to play The Liverpool Way, deliver ongoing player development programmes, soccer schools to youngsters in the country, while recruiting and training local coaches.

The programme will provide youngsters between the ages of five and 12 with the opportunity to improve their football skills and develop in the technical, tactical, physical and social aspects of the game through age-specific coaching sessions.

Through the unique coaching methods of Liverpool FC, there will also be a focus on improving key life skills of the young participants, including teamwork, confidence, motivation and communication.

Liverpool FC and SMI will look to recruit and train local Japanese coaches, providing long-term career opportunities as well as helping to develop the game in Japan.

"Liverpool FC has millions of fans in Japan and they will be pleased to know that the Club is keen to help kids develop their football skills. What I find exciting is that, as part of this programme, local coaches will be trained in The Liverpool Way too. Not only will this create possible careers for these coaches but it will also help develop the level of the game in Japan" commented Liverpool FC Ambassador and former player Ian Rush.

Eriko Tagawa, Chief Executive Officer at SMI, commented, "We are thrilled to have partnered with Liverpool FC to bring the very best coaching programmes to the young players in Japan.

"We are also hugely excited by the opportunity to deliver the Club's coaching philosophy and practices with the help of the experienced Liverpool FC coaches who will be working on this project. There's huge potential for an initiative like this in Japan and we can't wait to get started."