ULSTER Unionist Assembly Member for Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend, has said she was delighted to attend the McDonald’s national grassroots football partnership ’10 Years of Teamwork’ event at Stormont recently.
Sandra said, “It was a pleasure to attend this celebration of football in Northern Ireland, and especially to acknowledge the great effort that local people invest in grassroots football each week.
“On a personal level, as a parent of children who play football at Moyola Football Development programme on Saturday mornings, I am well aware of the hard work put in by the volunteers who make it possible for young people to enjoy football in excellent facilities, as well as develop their skills from the coaching on offer.
In the past 10 years, McDonald’s and the IFA have created over 700 newly qualified coaches in Northern Ireland, and this will surely benefit the standard of football in the future.” Mrs. Overend went on to say “I was very privileged to meet Northern Ireland’s legendary goalkeeper Pat Jennings, and England’s World Cup hero from 1966, Sir Geoff Hurst. That such icons of the game paid a visit to this event shows the excellent standard of work undertaken by McDonald’s, the IFA and the numerous volunteers in Northern Ireland in forwarding our National sport.
I offer my best wishes and hope for continued success to all those who make football accessible to our young people. The 10 Years of Teamwork event clearly demonstrates how hard work and a shared love for sport can benefit the wider community.” Mrs. Overend was keen to offer her congratulations to grassroots football volunteers right across Northern Ireland who devote time and energy for the future of football in our province, as well as Prof. Barrie Houlihan and Dr. Steven Bradbury of Loughborough University, who produced an executive summary on the Partnership. The programme was established with the objectives of creating a pool of trained coaches, the promotion of higher standards at the grassroots level, and providing more recognition for the many people who devote themselves to supporting ‘the people’s game’. OverThe work undertaken by the Partnership has already improved the standard of coaching throughout the Province, and it is hoped will ultimately result in progress for the National team.