On Sunday, December 11, Gillingham Football Club Community Trust (GFCCT) and Faversham Strike Force FC teamed up and delivered a joint community initiative involving players and coaching staff. Over 80 children aged six to nine years old participated in GFCCT-led coaching sessions alongside Faversham Strike Force coaching staff. 

The partnership builds on the success of the club’s recent visit to the home of Gillingham FC, Priestfield Stadium, to support the Gills in their 2-1 win over Northampton. Over 200 players, parents and club volunteers roared the Gills to victory.

Former Gillingham FC academy coach and Faversham Strike Force FC Club Manager, Gary Axford explained more about the partnership; 

"We have always had an affiliation with the club, with both players and coaches making the step up from the club into the professional setting that is Gillingham FC, and it’s great that we will now build on this and expand the relationship."

The partnership will see Gillingham FC coaches work with Strike Force coaches to build on their experience and knowledge while offering player development opportunities. Simon Hodge, Head of Football and Sports Development at Gillingham Football Club Community Trust explained more about the #GillsTakeOver: 

"We will be providing coaching sessions delivered by our FA and UEFA qualified football coaches. We are really looking forward to the sessions which will promote technical, tactical, physical, social and psychological skills to the players. Strike Force has a great reputation throughout Kent and we all believe the partnership can flourish to support both player and coach development."

The inaugural #GillsTakeOver was a wonderful event, and consisted of a wide range of GFCCT coaching staff leading football coaching sessions to the U6 squads up to the U9 squads, supported by Faversham Strike Force coaching staff. A range of qualified GFCCT coaching staff delivered sessions to the players – an A Licence coach worked with the U9s, supported by a GFCCT Apprentice; a female FA L2 coach worked with the U8s group; a female FA L2 coach worked with the U7s group; and a GFCCT Apprentice supported the U6s group.

What made the day even more special was the visit of the Mayor of Faversham, Cllr Shiel Campbell, who spoke with coaches and children about the event. The Mayor was shown around by two Faversham Strikeforce Young Leaders. 

Overall, the day was a great success for both the players and the coaches.  As GFCCT Coach Shannon Martin reflected, “I think it's important to do sessions like this as it's a new environment for the children; different coaches have different styles and methods and it allows the children to be engaged and learn in a different way. It also develops me as a coach; I have a new group of children, and I am able to learn things from them.”

We’re already looking forward to the next #GillsTakeOver!

Find out more about Faversham Strike Force FC via their website, or contact them on Twitter @StrikeForce_FC.