Abu Dhabi may be the home of the owners of Manchester City but there’s no shortage of passion for the Reds in the United Arab Emirates.
Manchester United Soccer Schools have a permanent base at the Dome@Rawdhat, a purpose-built facility with an artificial pitch and clubhouse. Constructed by partners Reem investments, the facility has hosted 1,500 children (aged 7-16) from over 50 countries since 2010 – all desperate to learn to play football ‘the United way’.
Head coach Andy Dixon has coached all over the world for Manchester United Soccer Schools and believes the passion for football, and the Reds, is as strong in Abu Dhabi as anywhere. “It doesn’t matter where you go, when you get a group of kids together it doesn’t matter about background or nationality, you just put a football in there and watch the passion come through,” says Andy.
“A lot of the fans that come to the soccer school are Manchester United fans but there are fans of other clubs, too. They’ve all one thing in common, they want to learn to play Manchester United’s brand of football.”
The appeal of the soccer school is such that one young player has travelled from Oman to take part. For one recent 10-week course, Yashvi Manihar (15) came with her father Mahrendra from their home in Buremi in order to hone her football skills.
“When I read about the course in the newspaper I said to my dad, ‘I have to go to this!” explains Yashvi. “I thought, if this is your passion, you have to go for it and you can’t let a road trip stop you.”