Reds legend Ian Rush today officially opened the Club’s first full-time coaching programme in Tokyo, Japan.

Together with partner Sports Management International (SMI), Liverpool FC will deliver ongoing player development programmes and soccer schools to youngsters in the country, as well as recruiting and training local coaches.

The project, which will initially focus on the Tokyo metropolitan area, will provide a unique opportunity for young players to learn to play 'The Liverpool Way.'

"It's great to be here today to launch this programme. I've had the opportunity to meet some of the kids who will benefit from our way of coaching as well as some of the local coaches and we are all very excited," commented LFC Ambassador, Ian Rush.

"Liverpool FC has millions of fans in Japan and they will be pleased to know that the club is keen to help develop the grassroots the game in this country" he added.

The programme, which will be led by Japan-based Liverpool FC coaches Neil Murphy and Phil Oliver, will provide youngsters between the ages of 5 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.

Eriko Tagawa, Chief Executive Officer at SMI, commented: "We are delighted to have partnered with such a prestigious club as Liverpool FC and are looking forward to starting our programmes here in Japan. We are confident that this will have a real impact on grassroots football here and benefit both local coaches and players alike. The LFC coaches, Neil and Phil, have both now relocated to Japan and are ready to kick-off this exciting project."

More information on the Liverpool FC Soccer Schools Japan can be found at

Click here to visit the Official LFC Japanese Facebook page