x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

M Plays: Touch and go

Young boys who dream of football superstardom can get some early training in the UAE at the IFA football camp.

"I'd like to be a footballer when I grow up and play for Chelsea because it is my favourite team," says Leo, 7. "And I think that I need to help them because they're doing quite well - but if I join them they will do better."

Faced with keeping the children active this summer? Young boys who dream of playing for Chelsea or Barca can get some early training in the UAE at the IFA football camp. Two future stars offer their verdict on the camp's mix of teamwork, discipline - and fun

I first went to the football camp at Easter this year, but I also go to classes they run on Monday evenings. We learn how to dribble and shoot. Coach David is a very good coach and he tells me to never give up. We learn how to pass and take a first touch and then shoot. Coach David always says we don't pass enough.

At the camp we play different sports as well as football. We play cricket and tail-tag. But mainly we play football. The best thing about the camp is the matches. I'm the captain sometimes and pick my team. Normally Coach David says to us that in real matches you normally take a first touch and then pass, so he says that we only have three touches or two and then we have to pass or shoot.

I like shooting because it always gives you the best chance for scoring and if you add power there is no chance the goalie is going to save it. I'd like to be a footballer when I grow up and play for Chelsea because it is my favourite team and I think that I need to help them because they're doing quite well - but if I join them they will do better.

I do recommend you go to the football camp because it is a very good camp and it helps you to look up and pass and be a good footballer. If you want to be a good footballer, you have to have skills and go to lots of classes and practise at home, especially keepie-uppies.

At the camp we always do skills training and then we play a match for about 20 minutes to practise our skills, but sometimes before the real match we have to do three touches and pass, but everybody says they don't like that, they just want to run with the ball and score. I do, too, but I think we need to practise three touches as well.

Leo, 7


Barclays academy is very successful in teaching kids how to play football and with the instructions and the help of the two coaches, David and Ben, we are sure that we will be the professional football players of the future.

I have been playing in Barclays for about three years and I shall remember this academy for a long time because it has taught me how to be a better footballer, knowing better tricks, accuracy when shooting, discipline and, last of all and the most important, how to play and perform as a team with other kids.

Now that the summer is coming, I am sure that Barclays is preparing training sessions which will give opportunity for all children who like the game to have the chance to play football and have a quality time in the summer holidays.

We kids need to do different types of sports to be healthy. My junior brother is also a player in Barclays academy, even my sister. She plays tennis, practises swimming and does gymnastics.

I advise all kids to do any type of sports and they will see that the sport will give them self-confidence, will make them discover new friends, get involved in exciting activities and at the same time build a strong and healthy body.

There are so many things that I learnt from the training. I gained self-confidence and got involved in so many matches that made me perform the tricks and the passes that my coaches taught me, and day by day I became better and better, and this made me love the game more and more.

I thank my parents who gave me that opportunity to play football and have fun at the same time with our friends. I also thank my school and Barclays coaches David and Ben for their strong and unlimited support to all the kids of the academy.

Aren, 10


International Football Association football camp, formerly run by Barclays academy, runs until September 1 at Star International School in Dubai. Rates are Dh650 for a full week/full day, Dh350 for a full week/half day, Dh450 for three full days or Dh150 for one full day. For more information go to www.ifasport.com, e-mail info@ifasport.com or call 04 454 1683