Stars from Swansea City and Cardiff City came together this week ahead of Saturday’s Welsh derby to launch the Premier League School Sport programme, which aims to give a major boost to primary school sport in Wales.
Former Swansea striker Lee Trundle and ex-Cardiff defender Scott Young gave their support to the project by meeting pupils from the YGG Cwm Garw School in Bridgend who had been put through their paces during a coaching session delivered by both clubs.
The Premier League and Welsh Government are investing in the scheme which will allow Cardiff City and Swansea City to deliver high-quality curriculum time coaching aimed at improving physical literacy and fundamental movement skills.
With funding of £540,000 from the Premier League and £60,000 from the Welsh Government over the next three years, Swansea City and Cardiff City are aiming to target 190 schools in south Wales per year.
"Having two teams playing in the Premier League is a wonderful achievement by both Cardiff City and Swansea City and helps to boost the whole profile of football and sport in general across Wales," said Minister for Culture & Sport John Griffiths AM.
"Involving young people at an early age in sport can have an extremely positive affect on their lives - in terms of their health, well-being and raising aspirations. The Premier League School Sport Programme will do just that.
"I'm delighted that thousands of children will benefit from this welcome programme that has been developed as a result of the Premier League, Welsh Government, Cardiff City and Swansea City working in close partnership to maximise the opportunities of having two Welsh teams in the world's most high profile league."
As part of the programme, a fully trained and newly skilled club workforce will also introduce pupils to football/sport coaching and provide competitive football opportunities. The emphasis will be on providing fun, enjoyable experiences that raises enthusiasm for physical activity and increases participation in sport and football.
"Supporting youth and education is at the heart of the Premier League’s community strategy," Simon Morgan, Head of Community of the Premier League said. "9,000 pupils in Wales will benefit every year from high quality curriculum coaching by Swansea City and Cardiff City. The programme will promote physical activity, teach new skills and open up opportunities into competitive football and is a vital component of the significant contribution the Premier League is in making Wales."
Cardiff City FC Community & Education Foundation will target 90 schools per year and 12,000 pupils over three years, offering PE curriculum enrichment sessions over a six-week period. This will lead into inter schools competitive football opportunities and entry into the Premier League Schools Tournament. The focus of the programme will be on Caerphilly, Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend.
“Reaching out to the youngsters of our local community is the fundamental aim of The Foundation - the Premier League funding will further help us break through any discrimination or social barriers which hinder young people's development,” said Cardiff City Community and Education Foundation manager Scott Young.
"To be involved in a Premier League schools initiative is a privilege, whose effects in our local community and beyond, will inevitably be definitive to a productive and positive end. The medium of sport is a powerful tool and our affiliation to the Premier League is priceless in the promotion of grass root sport.
"With the involvement of both Sport Wales and the Welsh Government, we are highly enthusiastic and motivated to deliver a successful programme that will not only see the wider roll-out of this project, but will also further develop our lucrative working relationship with both bodies."