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Our Stories: Jay

11 September 2017

Jay started playing with our Little Dribblers at three-years-old and now he’s a talent to watch.

Little Dribblers helps youngsters develop the physical and social skills from as young as 18 months and whist this is a great way to develop young footballers it also helps combat child obesity, improve youngsters social skills and helps with their education too.

Jay first got involved with the programme when he was just three years old. His coaches describe him as a ‘natural footballer’ who isn’t afraid to play with older boys, despite the sometimes considerable size difference. Taking to training sessions well, Jay always paid attention to his coaches and it was obvious that he was putting his practice in at home too, improving week on week.

His improvement was so quick that he was invited into the ‘Little Dribblers Academy’ training group to train with Under 5s whilst he was still in nursery. This is one of the steps on the Foundation’s Player Pathway which has been established to identify and develop stars of the future.

In the academy environment Jay has flourished and has since been identified as a ‘special talent’ by Sunderland AFC Academy. Now at the age of six Jay trains twice a week, once with his own age group and once with the year above.

He also continued to attend Little Dribblers sessions until he reached the top age limit and now takes part in other age appropriate sessions.

Jay’s fearlessness, enthusiasm for football and respect for his coaches has seen him develop a huge amount over a short period of time. He has also refused offers to sign for other academies out of loyalty and a belief from his parents that his footballing future has a better chance with SAFC.

Football is everything to Jay, since being able to walk all he’s wanted to do is play football.

He’s so dedicated, there’s never a time when he doesn’t want to come to sessions. He loves it. He’s made great friendships with the other children and come on leaps and bounds.

Even at school his teachers have said they believe football, and the strictness of the routine has helped him in the classroom. We are so proud of him.

Marylyn Brown, Jay’s mother

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