UAE, 28 August 2019: Five young players from Manchester City Football Schools in the UAE have travelled to clubs all over the world as part of their development programme.
The initiative is unmatched in UAE and Middle East youth football – allowing young players the chance of a full experience at a City Football Group club on the international stage.
The five boys – aged between 10 and 13 – were coached at Manchester City FC, New York City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan and Girona FC in Catalonia.
They have all been part of City Football Schools, which is based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and were chosen due to the progress they have made in the last few seasons.
The boys will now start the new season back in the UAE and have spoken of the incredible experience this summer.
Joshua Hoferer, who was in Japan to train with Yokohama F. Marinos, said: “It was so exciting to train with the Yokohama F. Marinos players and coaches. I feel the experience has taken me one step closer toward my goal of becoming a professional football player. This has been the chance of a lifetime for me and I’m very grateful to City Football Schools for this amazing opportunity.”
Isaac Brown headed to New York to train with New York City FC, and said: 'I just couldn’t wait to get to New York City FC and it really showed me what is needed to play at the highest level. The coaches were impressed with my speed and technical skills, we got the chance to do 1 v 1s and a penalty shoot out, which I scored in. I also got the chance to have lunch with Claudio Reyna and got a ball signed by all of the first team players – they even invited me to play with them anytime I’m in New York. The trip was incredible and I’m so grateful to City Football Schools for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.”
Thomas Nesbitt and Robert March flew to the UK to train with Premier League Champions, Manchester City FC, at the famous Etihad Campus in Manchester.
Thomas said: “The facility is just the best football campus in the world and to be part of it this summer was incredible. From start to finish we really got to see what goes on at the home of the Premier League champions.
Robert added: 'I have been coached at City Football Schools in Abu Dhabi for the past seven years and have supported City all my life. What was really great was to learn in-depth how the academy works and to hear from the range of coaches in Manchester. It is an important step in my development both on and off the pitch. '
Simon Hewitt is the Head of Football Operations for Manchester City in the Middle East and across North Africa.
He explained how this special summer initiative was devised and what the hopes are for it both now and in the future.
Simon said: “We are always looking at new ways to improve and enhance the experience of the players participating in the City Football Schools programme. This initiative was a very exciting one and as a coaching team we are delighted to be offering these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
“These coaching experiences are within our new Talented Player Programme, which has been introduced as part of the overall player development pathway, starting from a child’s very first steps into football.
“With City Football Group’s unique network of clubs around the world, we have at our disposal a wide range of opportunities and experiences to offer.”