On Saturday, 24 May, the British Football Academy (BFA) celebrated its tenth anniversary with a football jamboree. More than 300 children and their families turned up at Yokohama Country and Athletic Club (YC&AC) to play some of their favourite games like “Starwars,” “Skittles,” and “through the hoops,” as well as, of course, football.
There were prizes on offer for the winners, and presents and free drinks (supplied by adidas, Coca Cola, and Footy Japan) for all the kids. Also, BFA’s favourite charity, Refugees International Japan, came along to do some face painting for the kids (and spread the word about their great endeavours to the parents).
It was September 2004 when the British Football Academy held its first classes at YC&AC, and since then it has grown to six locations with around 500 children participating on a weekly basis. Although the Lehman shock and the Tohoku Earthquake hit them quite hard, with many foreign members returning to their home countries, the numbers have been built back up again with many “internationally minded” Japanese. As BFA’s classes are all coached in English, it’s a great place for Japanese children to be immersed in a foreign language while enjoying a game they love to play.
There were kids from all BFA’s age groups (3–15 years old) and some ex-BFA members helping out the coaches. At the halfway stage, everyone was treated to a football skills show by assistant coach Yuhei, who amazed many people by what he could do with a football at his feet (and behind his head, or on his back …). The founders of BFA, Sid and Paco Lloyd, then gave a quick speech before the games began again. The day was finished up with a couple of parents vs. coaches’ matches, so the kids could support their dads. In fact, one dad managed to score a goal with a bicycle kick … amazing! The winners of each of the kids’ games were presented with their medals by head coach Dave Callaghan, and then everyone went home with smiles on their faces.
If you’d like to know more about the British Football Academy’s weekly sessions or their three- and five-day summer camps, please visit http://www.british-football-academy.com.