Community Coaching
Football Gave Me A Second Chance PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Williams
Thursday, 04 February 2010 14:57

By Andrew Robinson - Yorkshire Evening Post


Soccer coach Justin Richards turned from a life of petty crime to become a role model for school children.

He played truant from his Leeds high school, spent his spare time drinking in the streets and left school barely able to read or write.

Now he is a graduate of Leeds' Brazilian Soccer School's Entry to Employment scheme designed to give young people basic skills by combining football training with computer and literacy skills.

Eighteen-year-old Justin said he could not even play football when he began the football coaching course but has since played in the reserve team at Garforth Town, owned by Simon Clifford, who set up the first Brazilian soccer school in Leeds in 1996.

"I struggled at school," said Justin, formerly of Gipton and now living in Rodley, Leeds. "I did not go to high school much. I have dyslexia and not being able to do things made me angry.

"I was hanging round with the wrong crowd, drinking in the street. Because I know the mistakes that I made, I can talk to kids and give them advice about the need to get their head down and learn to read and write.

"The Brazilian Soccer School teaches you how to be a good person first and then a footballer."

He puts his own turnaround down to Mr Clifford, who gave him a job and "knew where I was heading".

"I started playing football at 16," he says. "I was absolutely rubbish but the Brazilian Soccer School got me as good as I am now."

The employment course also helped with his literacy and he can now read to his nephews, Alex, one, and three-year-old Adam-Lee.

The Brazilian Soccer School has now teamed up with Leeds law firm, The Needle Partnership, which has donated free football coaching sessions to hundreds of underprivileged children in Leeds.

The aim of the community coaching scheme is to give local children the chance to experience football training from a recognised football coaching organisation.


Brazilian Soccer Schools work with children aged five to 18 through Futebol de Salao, the fast-paced five-a-side game of South American origin, that helped produce such Brazilian greats as Pele and Ronaldinho.

Leeds schools signed up to the scheme so far include: Harehills Primary, Talbot Primary, Kerr Mackie Primary, Brownhill Primary, Alcuin Primary, Bankside Primary, Corpus Christi Primary, Ebor Gardens Primary, Chapel Allerton Primary and St Nicolas RC Primary.

Sharon Needle, managing partner at the Needle Partnership, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be able to offer local disadvantaged children the chance to work on their footballing techniques to the highest level.

"This is a very exciting project for the youngsters and will also get them active, give them expert training in a fun, inclusive environment and above all goals and aspirations for the future.

"As part of the coaching initiative, we are also offering five scholarships for talented, deserving children in conjunction with Brazilian Soccer Schools."

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2010 15:14
Garforth School Are Given The Brazilian Touch PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Williams
Thursday, 04 February 2010 14:33
js white cc

Jonathan S White & Co Accountants, a Leeds-based firm of Chartered Certified Accountants, have given children in Garforth a taste of Brazilian flair by sponsoring a course of the Brazilian Soccer Schools coaching sessions at Green Lane Primary School.

Over 50 eight and nine year-olds have been attending the free sessions as part of their Physical Education curriculum lessons on Friday mornings. The children are coached by the Garforth Brazilian Soccer Schools Head Coach Steve White and Garforth Town AFC players Duncan Williams, Justin Richards and Seb Muddel.

Brazilian Soccer School coaching focuses on developing children’s personal skills and allowing each child equal time with a ball. The Schools are the brainchild of Simon Clifford, owner and manager of Garforth Town AFC, and they rely on sponsorship from companies such as JS White to carry out free coaching sessions in deprived areas.

Craig Bannister, Partner at Jonathan S White & Co, attended a session at Green Lane on Friday 14th March, and was delighted to see the difference the Soccer sessions were making.

“It is exciting to see how our sponsorship is benefiting these children. The skills that both the boys and girls have developed are fantastic. We are committed in supporting families and businesses with their accountancy needs so it is fantastic that this opportunity has enabled us to support local children in finding such enjoyment in getting active”.

Brazilian School Soccer Head Coach Steve White said: “We have had a wonderful response from the children at Green Lane to our unique training methods. The children have developed their technical ability and confidence by spending more time with the ball at their feet and this is key to their continued development. Not only are they getting good physical exercise but also enhancing their ball eye coordination which will prove invaluable in whatever sporting activity they undertake. It is really rewarding to be able to work with Garforth Town FC and companies such as Jonathan S White & Co Accountants and to give something back to the local community.“

Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2010 11:52