First Kicks: Some Junior Blues taking their first steps into football
Napier City Rovers have launched a new initiative that will enable children between four to six-years-old take their first steps into football for free in the upcoming 2018 season.
The club announced on Friday that it will fund fees for all players registering to join their First Kicks programme due to kick-off in May.
The scheme is the creation of Chairman Phil Doran, a known advocate of junior and youth player development. Doran says the move is aimed at engaging kids early in the sport while making it affordable and accessible to all.
“The purpose is to provide the opportunity for all kids to have their first experience of football in a fun, friendly, risk-free environment without the barriers of cost for families,” says Doran.
"The idea of First Kicks is for the kids to enjoy football and to develop a passion for the game that could be life-long. First Kicks is where they get their first taste of football, and investment at the grassroots level is essential to make sure that initial involvement is positive and fun.
“When looking at nurturing young players it is important that we provide the best environment and opportunities for them to thrive. Rovers have a fantastic set-up to support junior football and access to some of the best coaches in the area. The engagement level of the kids in the programme is always massive. They get involved and really enjoy themselves."
The decision to waive fees for this age group and make the programme more accessible is in line with one of the club's main priorities, to help promote healthier communities.
“Football clubs are important vehicles for helping promote active communities, as well as keeping people socially connected across all age groups," says Doran.
"Napier City Rovers has been an iconic part of the local footballing community for a long time, and we are proactive in working with schools and other organisations to encourage participation in football.
“Fostering a positive culture and supporting community participation is high on our agenda. Making football affordable for juniors has always been a priority.
“Some families struggle to find disposable income for programmes such as these. Children could be missing out because people simply can't afford it. Hopefully, this initiative helps.
"There are also those families who have, two, three, or more children who can feel the pinch as the financial impact of raising their family grows. We want to help ease some of that load. It’s a small thing, but if it helps make a difference for some then it will be worth it.”
Doran adds that he hopes the free programme will also help boost the number of girls signing up for football this season.
“Central Football is set to roll-out an all-girls league for players under the age of six. This is another fantastic initiative that Rovers fully supports and aims to get behind."
To register to play First Kicks for free click here.
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