Field of Dreams: nurturing the next generation of footballers
The ambition to become a professional footballer is a drive that many young schoolchildren possess. However, success in the world of championship football is something that few of these children will ever achieve.
As with all sports, dedication, endurance and skill is foremost in football, although this alone is not always enough to succeed at a professional level, and many young hopefuls have their dreams shattered because they simply do not get the training and guidance they need.
This prompted one football fanatic, distressed by the thought of young footballers missing the chance to fulfil their dreams, to try to do something about it.
Matt Gore had always dreamed of setting up a football club where children, whatever age, race or ability, could develop their skills and have a better chance of playing premiership football.
Matt approached Martin Tigue - a coach who has been involved with high-level football for many years - with a plan that would give some of these young hopefuls a chance, and Matt’s dream would quickly become reality.
In the spring of 2015, Matt and Martin launched the ‘Field of Dreams Football Club in Mijas Costa; a community club that aims to teach young children how to play football and nurture those that show potential on the pitch.
They already have a wide spectrum of nationalities; including British, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Danish, Finnish, Belgium and French, and they have three football teams that play in the local league in Mijas.
The club had just four members when it began, but new players arrive weekly and there are now 100 members between the ages of two and sixteen.
“We take great pride in what we do and we have developed players and passed them on to a higher level of football,” Matt Gore says proudly. Martin Tigue, who has completed his FA and UEFA level 1, 2 and 3 coaching badges, trains the under-fourteen team and he has become a great mentor to the young players.
“Martin was the first person I contacted when setting up the club, because his experience and football knowledge is second to none. He is an invaluable member of the club,” Matt explained.
A miracle player
However, not all football-crazy children have their sights set too high; one in particular desires simply to be able to play football and train with other children of his age.
Nine-year-old Garin Morgan, from Aberdare in South Wales, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of two and his parents were told that their son would never be able to walk.
The family had always hoped that modern medicine would change this, and thanks to surgery pioneered in America, their wish became reality.
Just a few months after Garin underwent surgery in Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, in which some nerves that connect Garin’s brain to his legs were cut; his life began to change forever.
Garin became the subject of an ITV programme called ‘What would be your miracle?’, a series that follows the inspirational and emotional stories of people whose lives were transformed by the power of modern medicine.
During the program, Garin was asked what his ‘miracle’ would be, and the cheerful nine-year-old replied, “To play football.”
Matt Gore had watched the programme and it broke his heart. He knew he had to do something, because this was one of the reasons he had set up the Field of Dreams Football Club.
Matt contacted the television company, who put him in touch with Garin’s family, and a campaign was launched to bring the child to Spain to play football in Mijas.
Matt and Martin worked hard to make it happen, organizing fundraising events and collections, in order to bring Garin to Spain for a series of private sessions, before joining the teams on the pitch for a specially arranged football match.
The enthusiastic nine-year-old told SUR in English, “I’ve never had the chance to play football with a team until the Field of Dreams gave me one, and so I am really excited to have this opportunity.”
In the meantime, Matt and Martin are busy with last minute preparations for Garin’s visit and they are happy and excited about the prospect of helping the young football fan achieve his miracle of life.source surinenglish