Treble-chasing Bradley Stoke Youth take inspiration from visit by the stars
BRADLEY Stoke Youth are aiming to make it three on the spin during an exciting period for the fast-growing club.
They claimed the Gloucestershire FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year honours in 2011 and 2013, and having been nominated again for the distinction they are hoping to add the 2014 hand-out to that list of accolades.
A few days ago the South Gloucestershire club were treated to a visit by 1966 World Cup final hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst and former England manager Graham Taylor, as well as Bristol City goalkeeper Frank Fielding.
The event was staged to celebrate the ongoing relationship between Bradley Stoke YFC and local McDonald’s franchisee Mike Guerin, who owns ten restaurants in Bristol. During the decade he has backed the club, Guerin has donated some £25,000 worth of new kit and equipment to them from McDonald’s kit supplier Precision Training.
Taylor and Fielding are both ambassadors of Precision, while Hurst acts as McDonald’s director of football.
All three watched on keenly as more than 50 of Bradley Stoke YFC’s promising under-6s and under-7s were put through their paces on the Astroturf by ten of the club’s coaches, including several up-and-coming coaches in their mid-teens.
The three stars then hosted a question and answer session at Bradley Stoke Community School, which was attended by around 130 people.
One of the club’s long-serving coaches, Martin Lee, who also enjoys a role as community link officer with them, enthused: “Sir Geoff attended our youth football festival five years ago so it was good to see him again. He is so knowledgeable and interested in grassroots football and Graham Taylor was just great with the kids, always smiling and enthusiastic and willing to stay on well after the finish in order to sign shirts and chat to everyone.
“Frank Fielding was great too and well known of course to our Bristol City enthusiasts. He helped our goalkeeper with a few tips and he too stayed until the end.
“All three seemed very impressed by our set-up, and the fact we have about 350 young footballers at the club, which caters for school reception-aged children right up to under-18s. We also have five girls’ teams and a disability section for six to 11-year-olds, which has been successfully going for 16 months now.
“The club has been steadily growing year on year which certainly keeps our 52 coaches on their toes!”
Of his association with BSYFC, Guerin said: “It gives me great pleasure to have supported them for a decade now. They are an excellent club with a great group of coaches and players and I’m looking forward to our continued partnership.”
And Hurst added: “It is thanks to the help of franchisees like Mike Guerin that clubs such as Bradley Stoke Youth can grow and welcome more players and coaches into their clubs. The McDonald’s Football Programme is all about helping grassroots clubs and volunteers who are vital to the game. It was a pleasure to be able to visit the club and meet their coaches and young players.”
Lee explained that Bradley Stoke YFC send four coaches into 15 local primary schools as part of their ‘school link programme’, which is designed to entice youngsters into the junior game.
“There are around 800 children involved altogether and we spend three consecutive weeks in any one school, coaching the entire class of Year 1’s for an hour at a time, before moving on to the next school,” he explained.
“We go into six schools in Bradley Stoke and other smaller schools like ones at Iron Acton, Pilning and Thornbury, and it is very worthwhile and rewarding. We also have strong links with Bradley Stoke Town, which provides our teenagers with a pathway into adult football.”
Bradley Stoke Youth are now preparing for their ninth annual football festival, which takes place at the Jubilee Centre at Savages Wood Road on Saturday, June 7.
Anyone wishing to join the club as a player, coach or volunteer can contact Martin on 07785 384618 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more at http://www.gloucestershirefa.com/play/local-football-news#frYblszBhKJThUTk.99