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Chelsea Foundation work continues in Orlando | News | Official Site

Our pre-season tour of the USA has featured plenty of activity on and off the football field but perhaps none more important than the work of the Chelsea Foundation.

From Los Angeles to Orlando, our community initiatives have reached out far and wide across the full breadth of the United States. In Florida on our final leg of the trip, the Foundation’s coaching team have been working with six boys and girls clubs in the city area, reaching over 400 young people aged between six and 17, in conjunction with Florida Citrus Sports.

At the Bradley Otis club on Monday morning, within an eyeshot of the Camping World Stadium that hosted our clash with Arsenal at the end of the week, a fun and interactive coaching experience was delivered to 71 participants from kindergarten through to high school.

Leading the sessions, senior program manager Chris Woodward said: ‘It was a great start to the week. Although many of the players don’t get a chance to engage in soccer as a first-choice sport, they all got very involved and left with a smile on their faces.’

As part of the programme, participants were also offered tickets to our open training session at Osceola Heritage Park on Friday afternoon, at which Thomas Tuchel and his coaching staff put the players through their peace in front of thousands of onlookers.

Later in the week, two of the Chelsea squad were in attendance at the Tupperware Brands Branch, a short drive from where the players have been staying and training while in Orlando. Malang Sarr and young goalkeeper Ted Sharman-Lowe spent time with the kids and getting involved in the practices, while also answering any questions posed.

Their surprised appearance was a highlight of the day for the participants, who were able to pose for photographs and autographs at the end of the session. Sarr, who made 21 appearances for the Blues last term, was delighted with the opportunity to spend time with the locals.

‘I’ve been doing stuff like this for a while but it’s really nice to be able to come here and show the kids a bit of football so they get to know it because many of them don’t really know about football,’ he told us afterwards.

‘It’s getting more famous now in America but it’s always good to have a moment with these kids, to spend time with them and explain about the game, to show them it can be a good thing for them as well.’

The 23-year-old was impressed with both the enthusiasm and effort of the young people involved in the session, who displayed their skills as well as their gratitude at the visit.

‘Some of them were really into football,’ the Frenchman continued. ‘It was a family thing like their parents, brothers and friends were involved. Others didn’t know a lot about football but you could see that they were really interested in it and that’s the most important thing, to see that they want to discover the sport.

‘I was impressed with some of them because you could see that they’ve got quality. Some of them play in clubs and others don’t but you can see that they can play football so it was really nice to spend time with them.

‘It’s really good for us as well so they get to know us personally so it was a really good moment. I think they enjoyed it and I really enjoyed it too because this is the thing I really like to do, spending time with kids and trying to give them some advice and to show them a little bit about football and the life we ‚Äč‚Äčlive.’

A small amount of time can make a lasting impact and the primary purpose of our outreach work during this past fortnight has been to engage with as many organisations, young people, parents and coaches as possible, with a specific focus on engaging communities where children struggle. to access the sport due to the pay-to-play model.

This often leaves those from disadvantaged backgrounds unable to participate so the prevalence of free Chelsea Foundation sessions is particularly important. Spreading the passion for football and Chelsea is only part of the aim; inspiring the young to be better and improve, challenging coaches to look at situations in different ways, and most importantly, promoting football as fun is part of the legacy we’re hoping to leave.

International development manager Ian Woodroffe added: ‘Football tours at this level are not always what people perceive. It’s been great but especially busy for our team. It’s often long days and hours – eating on the run, leaving early to beat the traffic and getting back late to prepare for the next day.

‘So we have to say a massive thank you to the coaching team and the support staff who put all the logistics into place to make this happen. I truly believe this is one of the most impactful tours we have delivered and made all the most enjoyable by the team spirit to deliver the best program and experience we can.

‘A massive well done goes to our team Chris Woodward, Andy Ottley, Michael Cornall and Alfie Butwell, who can look back on the program with pride as we have traveled from LA to Vegas and onto Orlando.’

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