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28 October 2014
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Teenager balances ball on neck
Andy shows off his football skills

Wirral lads go football crazy!

By Estelle Condliff
Teenagers on in Wirral are given the opportunity to become FA coaches of the future.

The lads on the POPS football course based on Wirral eat, sleep and drink football.  They just can’t get enough of it.  Every afternoon of every weekday you’ll find them kicking a ball around, perfecting their dribbling skills and showing the world how keepyuppy should be done.

Students show dribbling skills
The pressure is on

The course kicked off (sorry!) with high hopes of producing football coaches of the future and it sounds like it’s doing just that with most of the students interested in completing a Football Association qualification and receiving a coaching badge.

Andy Billington is a UEFA Coach and runs the course.  He’s keen to point out that while afternoons are spent on the pitch, the mornings are spent in the classroom with lessons in physical education, diet and team work, "The lads have responded well to the classroom work and I'm surprised at how much they already know. They need to understand what is and isn’t good for the body when it comes to overall well being. 

"They’re starting to understand that if they go out on a Saturday night and have a few too many drinks, it’s going to reflect on their fitness levels the following week."  

Teenager films  his friends football skills
Being filmed for BBC Bus video

"The lads come from all over Wirral and bring individual qualities to the course, it’s been good for them to mix and learn from each other."

So are the lads over the moon or sick as a parrot about this new experience?  Kevin says he’s learned loads more football skills and made a few new mates along the way, "I’ve learned a lot about fitness and the body. I’ve changed my diet since I’ve been here and have lost a bit of weight. The advancement onto an FA Coaching course is really interesting." 

teenager balances ball on foot
22, 23, 24.....

John added that "Apart from learning about football, we’ve done some mental stuff like learning how the body works, the respiratory system and so on.  Andy is a great tutor, apart from us looking at him as a coach, we look at him as a friend as well.  We trust him and he makes everything we do a great laugh."

"I’ve learned a lot about fitness and the body."
Andy

POPS stands for People, Opportunities, Places and Skills.  Courses include IT, Hairdressing, Dj-ing, Graffiti Art and Football.  It’s open to anyone who lives on the Wirral who is aged between 16 and 19 and is unemployed.  

If you'd like more information call 0151 638 9599 or 0775 677 2340. 

last updated: 21/06/06
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