Coach kicks up a ball outside Old Trafford.

Manchester United Foundation launch Play Safe campaign

Alongside charitable efforts, Manchester United Foundation has continued to find new ways of delivering our projects to communities.

Supported by Manchester United’s global partner adidas, Play Safe provides coaches, teachers and young people the tools to play football again at a safe distance.  

As restrictions ease, the Government and The FA have relaxed measures to allow coaches to work with groups of five players. Play Safe includes a full coaching document, worksheets and videos to ensure coaches and teachers are equipped for a smooth transition into football’s new normal.

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Football on a cone outside Old Trafford.
Play Safe includes a full coaching document, worksheets and videos to ensure coaches and teachers are equipped for a smooth transition into football’s new normal.
Physical activity continues to play a huge part in a child’s development and the introduction of social distancing measures during this difficult time can lead to an increase in adverse experiences, impacting dramatically on a young person’s mental and physical health. 

The coaching document can be accessed via the Foundation’s website and includes twenty-one warm ups, drills and games making over three hundred combinations that can be adapted for all age groups and abilities. 

Former Manchester United player Russell Beardsmore took part in forming the drills. He said, “As we transition to the new normal things are going to look slightly different. These Play Safe activities give coaches, teachers, parents and children ideas for different football drills they can play at a safe distance.” 

He continued, “There are hundreds and thousands of sessions you can do, however the idea is to include activities that people can use for all different age groups. Hopefully it’s going to benefit all coaches and teachers not just those that work in the Foundation.”

Young people play football in the car park at Old Trafford.
Over the next few weeks the Foundation will share eight videos and worksheets highlighting a mix of drills and games.

Over the next few weeks the Foundation will share eight videos and worksheets highlighting a mix of drills and games, which can be played at a safe distance. Russell, who now works as a Foundation BTEC coach at Eccles Sixth Form College, visited Old Trafford for filming. 

He said, “This has been the first session back for me, I’ve missed it, it’s been a while. I’ve been coaching for twenty years and it’s a big part of my career. It’s been a little bit nerve-racking at times but if you follow government guidelines and use a common sense approach with the people you’re working with, it can be achieved in a fun and safe way.”

United coach plays football outside Old Trafford.
The campaign adds to the ongoing response of Manchester United and the Foundation to the local community during Covid-19.

Students from Foundation partner school Stretford High School also took part in the filming. Maddi, aged 15 said, “We’ve learnt how to improve our football techniques so we can play with our friends at a social distance. It’s really good to be back here with friends today; it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. It’s been great because we’ve been able to play games with each other; it’s like being back at school again.” 
 
Fellow classmate Oliwa aged 15, is nervous about transitioning to a new normal after lockdown. She said, “I do feel stressed because I know it’s going to be different from now on with social distancing.” 

“Today’s football session has been important so we can learn how to adapt to the new normal. It’s nice to know we can still play football and sports in teams, while keeping safe. I feel very proud to be here today, and delighted I could participate in this.”

Young people with footballs outside OId Trafford.
Students from Foundation partner school Stretford High School also took part in the filming.

The campaign adds to the ongoing response of Manchester United and the Foundation to the local community during Covid-19, including supporting the NHS through meal donations and food bank deliveries. 

To access the resources and for more information please visit http://www.mufoundation.org/play-safe

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