Football is an escape. And we aren’t talking about Saturday sessions down the pub; we mean that 30 minutes you play after work in your weekly 5-a-side league or the three hours you spend kicking a ball around down the park with mates, playing until it gets dark. That’s real escape.
“Football is a whole skill to itself. A whole world. A whole universe to itself. Me love it because you have to be skilful to play it! Freedom! Football is freedom.”
London is the capital of English football, with the likes of powerhouses such as to Arsenal, Chelsea and West Ham, down to Charlton Athletic and Barnet.
A city as highly-populated with teams as England’s capital city, obviously means everything is more competitive – apart from the prices ?. That means there’s millions more with the dream to become a professional footballer, however, as they’re on so many levels, nowadays, the youth of today are being letdown.
There aren’t enough free pitches to play on, there aren’t enough goals ‘up’ all-year round and there aren’t enough community projects to drive engagement and interaction.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to give the beautiful game to youngsters out there, ones with that twinkle in their eye whenever football is mentioned, irrelevant of ability.
London Tigers Youth Charity, led by coaches Zahid and Musah, is a superb initiative within the London community of Southall.
London, let alone England, let alone the world, needs more selfless projects and people putting the next generation first. Show them that there is alternatives to kicking around the streets and getting caught up in the wrong scenarios, with the wrong people.
It’s not rocket science, it works.
“We not only teach them how to play soccer, we teach them how to behave,” Corral said. “We teach them how to do good in school, how to obey rules, how to play fair.
The children develop bonds and lean on each other. They learn to have respect and apply it to their home life, their schoolwork and their friendships.”
Rafael Corral, volunteer coach at PACE in Orlando.