Kids get an early taste of football

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Some of the region’s newest footballers are getting a taste of the sport before the season even begins.

FC Nelson, one of the region’s largest football clubs, has been hosting a football in schools programme with one of its top coaches, Andy Morris.

The programme sees Andy give those who may not have had the opportunity to play winter football, a taste of the sport during school lunch breaks.

So far, around 40 students from Victory Primary School and Nelson Intermediate have taken part in the programme. Andy says the kids are selected by teachers and are those who may not have been exposed to winter football before.

“The club looked at areas where we as a club weren’t seeing kids and decided to run the programme at Victory Primary School and Nelson Intermediate, as they are two schools that are in the FC Nelson catchment area.”

The programme has been running for five weeks and will continue until the end of term one.

Andy says the ultimate goal is to get more kids playing winter football for FC Nelson.

“We know there are a lot of barriers for a lot of these kids, but we want to look at encouraging as many people to play football as possible and then see if we can get them into a Saturday programme. If there are difficulties, then what can we do to facilitate it happening. Really, we’re just trying to grow our player base.”

He says the response to the programme has been fantastic with the schools asking if it can continue past term one, and he says the club should be able to make a whole new team with players from Victory school alone. “It’s a great initiative, often we focus on the top end and forget about the grass-roots, community level. This is where it all starts and you only have to look at the enthusiasm to realise that it’s all worthwhile.”

Andy says funding for the programme was granted by KiwiSport and that it was too early to say if the programme would be extended.