Ray Houghton launches 2009 National Irish Bank Summer Soccer Schools programme

Ray Houghton launches 2009 National Irish Bank Summer Soccer Schools programme

Former Republic of Ireland International Ray Houghton was on hand to launch the 2009 National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools in Dublin today, which will see up to 25,000 children from all over Ireland participating at over 290 camps nationwide – up from 270 last year.
6th Apr 2009
The National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools, now in their third year, offer children from the ages of 7 to 15 a fun summer activity that provides encouragement for positive healthy living. They are a value-for-money activity focused on participation rather than competition. Running from the 6th of July to the 28th of August, each week-long (Monday to Friday, 10.30am to 3.00pm) school is run under the direction of the FAI Technical Director Packie Bonner, and delivered by FAI-qualified coaches, all Garda-vetted in a safe and professional environment. Participants learn how to pass, control, chest, use two feet, tackle, head and shoot. They'll also have great fun at the same time!

As an added incentive, children who book before the 15th of May will be included in a draw to win a place at a special training session to be run during the summer by Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni.

Brendan O’Hora, Head of Business Development & Communications at National Irish Bank said, “The National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools have been a fantastic success over the past two years, and we’re looking forward to even greater achievements in 2009. To date, over 40,000 children have taken part in over 490 National Irish Bank-sponsored camps, and we’re very proud that they are the leading summer sporting activity for children.

“The benefits of the participation in sport, especially from a young age, can’t be underestimated and the health and the social benefits are what children carry through into their adult lives. As an added bonus, under the leadership of Packie Bonner and the FAI coaches, these children learn and improve their football skills – something that will feed through to develop the Irish soccer stars of the future.”

Packie Bonner, Technical Director of the Football Association of Ireland, said, “We’re delighted to see the start of the 2009 Summer Soccer School programme, and I’m sure it will be a great success. This year we’ve introduced a completely new and exciting kit. Each child will receive a jersey, shorts, socks, ball and backpack which will add greatly to the player experience. As an added incentive, children can also get their jersey personalised with their own name or that of their footballing hero.

“The FAI is leading the way in terms of best practice in working with children in Summer Camps with all our coaches FAI accredited, Garda-vetted and all our Head Coaches medically trained and Irish Heart Foundation-certified through the training course they will all attend. These exciting developments, along with our excellent week-long programme, mean that the National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools will be the leading summer activity this year.”

Former Republic of Ireland International Ray Houghton said “The summer camps are a really brilliant way for children to learn the basic skills of football. Learning these skills from trained instructors at an early age gives them the opportunity and the ammunition to take their participation in football further. Its also a great way to spend the summer – making new friends and meeting up with kids they may have met in previous years.”

For the third year in a row, a number of the schools will be run exclusively through the Irish language. Camps As Gaeilge will take place in Counties Donegal, Galway and Kerry. There will also be five “Football For All”camps with Down Syndrome Ireland and St Joseph’s School for Deaf Children.

Due to the camps’ increasing popularity, interested participants are being encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment. Bookings can be made through the dedicated National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools website www.summersoccerschools.ie or by calling 1890 653 653. Participants can also book by post, using the application form which is available from all host clubs/venues.

This is National Irish Bank’s third year to sponsor the FAI Summer Soccer School Programme. The sponsorship represents the Bank’s commitment to its community banking programme, through which it aims to reach into communities and homes throughout Ireland in a meaningful way. For the FAI, the Sponsorship provides additional funding as they progress their development programme for soccer at underage level.

For further details of the dates and venues for the National Irish Bank FAI Summer Soccer Schools, log onto www.fai.ie, www.summersoccerschools.ie, or call 1890 – 653-653.