The Premier Skills Coach Education course is part of a global partnership between the British Council and Premier League which uses football to develop brighter futures for young people around the world.
The week-long programme will see Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaches deliver the training to 48 grassroots coaches, giving them the skills and knowledge needed to develop and run community projects that use football as a tool to transform lives and develop safer, stronger communities.
Through Premier Skills, young people, often including the most vulnerable in society, are given opportunities to become better integrated into their communities, to develop key skills needed for future employment and to raise their self-esteem.
JoJo Clarke is one of three coaches from Tottenham Hotspur Foundation delivering the training in Brazil.
JoJo grew up in Tottenham and was a participant on a number of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s community development and education projects.
He knows only too well the benefits that grassroots football can bring to young people living in deprived communities around the world.
“I’ve always lived close to White Hart Lane, so football has been an important part of my life from an early age," he said. "As a young child, I used to go to the Foundation’s Kicks projects at Ferry Lane and Northumberland Park - I learnt how to play football and was offered a lot of support and guidance from one of the coaches who also acted as my mentor. It was thanks to my mentor that I realised I wanted to work in the football industry and help other young people like myself through the beautiful game.
“At 16, I set my sights on getting the right type of qualifications and experience needed to work as a football coach in my community. I joined the Foundation’s Education and Football Development Centre at Barnet & Southgate College, progressed on to the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Degree, before graduating with a BSc Honours degree in Sports & Exercise Science at Middlesex University in 2014.
“As a young child growing up in the care system, I’d never have believed for one moment that I’d be capable of getting a degree and travelling to Brazil, representing Tottenham Hotspur and working with people from the Premier League and British Council.
“It’s an honour to be travelling to Brazil and an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m really looking forward to passing on my knowledge to other coaches so that they can use football to help vulnerable young people in their community, in the same way that I was supported by the Foundation.
“It will be a tough week of training for the coaches but we’ll be ending with a community festival and closing ceremony to reward everyone’s hard work.
“I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use my own life experience to inspire more people in Brazil to get involved in projects like Premier Skills, using football as a catalyst to help people on to positive pathways and strengthen the communities they live in.”
Since Premier Skills began in 2007, 6,300 coaches and referees have been trained in 29 countries, reaching nearly one million young people.
To find out more about Premier Skills, visit britishcouncil.org/society/sport/current-programmes/premier-skills