Two first-team players surprised the Pay & Play participants
Our Pay & Play participants at Strood Sports Centre had a special surprise last week when Gills players Emmanuel Osadebe and Mitch Dickenson came to join their session!
Participants at our weekly Girls 11-13 session and Open Disability Centre were enjoying their last session of the term when they were surprised with a visit from the first-team players.
The boys received a friendly welcome from the groups, and got straight into answering questions – like how many goals they’d scored, and the best way to find the back of the net!
The Gills stars were also happy to pose for photos with the participants and their parents, and sign programmes and even shirts for the young players.
The session then got even better, when the Gills players decided to join in a friendly game with the two groups! The boys were put through their paces as our young players showed off the skills they’d been learning during their weekly training with the Gills Community Trust’s coaches.
Both Osadebe and Dickenson got stuck into the game, encouraging and supporting the young participants. After the game, both players agreed that it had been a fantastic experience to meet the groups, and put a smile on their faces.
For the children, the visit was a real day to remember! Parent Joe said: “It was nice for [the players] to give back to the kids – it was great to see them join in and high-five. It was good of them to take the time out to come down.”
Nicola, one of the participants parent, agreed that the visit had been really special for the group, adding that she appreciated the way the Gills coaches lead the disability sessions. “I worry because [my son] has autism and he’s only young, so I worry about him getting in the way, but the coaches always invite him in – it’s very inclusive.”
Gills Community Trust coach Nicola Gardener, who has been involved with both sessions since they started, said of the visit: “It meant so much to the children, especially the fact that the players took time out in their evenings and travelled just to see our participants. The players quickly broke the ice with the group, and it made their day that they joined in with the session.”
Thank you to Emmanuel and Mitch for coming down and providing a session to remember for our young groups!
Want to join our Pay & Play sessions? Just come along every Tuesday*, 6.30-7.30pm at Strood Sports Centre, Watling St, ME2 3JQ – no experience necessary!
* Term time only
• Girls Sessions (ages 11 to 13)
• Disability Development Centre (ages 6 to adult)
We also run additional coaching sessions throughout the week during term time at Strood Sports Centre and Medway Park. Find out more and come along:
• Strood Coaching Academy (boys and girls, ages 5 to 11)
• Medway Park Player Development Centre (boys and girls, ages 7 to 11)