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Youngsters aim to score career in football at Hackney Marshes showcase

PUBLISHED: 16:15 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 17 April 2019

Youngsters showed off their skills at the event. Picture: Ernest Simons

Youngsters showed off their skills at the event. Picture: Ernest Simons

Ernest Simons

An internship with Adidas, a coding apprenticeship with Football Manager and scholarships to an American university were just some of the opportunities on offer at Hackney Marshes last week.

Scouts were there to spot future stars. Picture: Ernest SimonsScouts were there to spot future stars. Picture: Ernest Simons

The annual Hackney Marshes Football Symposium and Showcase saw 300 young men and women visit the home of grassroots football to learn about the careers on offer through the sport. From journalism to boot design, young people took part in a series of career workshops and discussions, including one hosted by award-winning broadcaster and head of women's sport at Give Me Sport Benny Bonsu.

She spoke about the importance of volunteering, saying: “I volunteered for ten years as a coach at Tottenham. You come to an interview and everyone will have qualifications, but coming with both volunteering and qualifications will set you above everyone else, it will show your passion and give you an edge.”

After the sit-down sessions the youngsters got their boots on and took part in a series of “showcase” games, hoping to impress scouts from across Europe and the US who were there to dish out scholarships.

Kobi Coker, 20, of Stoke Newington, was scouted at last year's event and is now studying at Broward College in Florida. He said: “This is a great way for any player interested in getting connected and clued up with the world of football. What I like is that the focus of attention doesn't have to be on your performance level, it's just a case of if you have a desire and a love of football then there are a number of opportunities that you can access on and off the pitch.”

Youngsters showed off their skills at the event. Picture: Ernest SimonsYoungsters showed off their skills at the event. Picture: Ernest Simons

Attendees were treated to free giveaways from Adidas, a session with scouting app Tonser, mental health support training with the PFA and the chance to apply for paid internships and apprenticeships.

The event was organised and funded by Hackney Council, with support from Adidas, Tonser , Football Manager, Sports on Screen and Give Me Sport.

Town hall jobs chief Cllr Carole Williams said: “I am proud we are able to host the event and facilitate some of the best opportunities for our young people. It was also great to see so many young women attending, and to see Benny Bonsu and Carina White [from Tongue Tied Media], who are smashing the glass ceilings in sport and discussing how women can make successful careers in the sports industry.”

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