By 2014, the Football Association (FA) Tesco Skills Programme is aiming to provide a further 4.7 million places on its football skills course for five to 11-year-olds.
The drive to get more youngsters playing football in England has already succeeded in getting 2 million children to take part in the programme since its 2007 launch. English international Frank Lampard was on hand to advise a new intake of participants from eight counties in England into which the scheme has recently expanded.
"The importance of good grassroots coaching for children cannot be underestimated," said the Chelsea FC midfielder. "I remember practising my skills over and over as a youngster and that has helped me to reach the top. Whatever your ability, the FA Tesco Skills Programme will make you a better player."
The coaching sessions run by Lampard were also attended by the FA's director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, the minister for sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP, and Nick Bitel of Sport England, which funds the development of grassroots sport in the country.
A total of 106 FA Tesco Skills coaches will be helping five to 11-year-olds to improve their football skills throughout 26 counties in England.
The skills coaches will be working in schools across the country, as well as running after-school skills centres and free school holiday taster sessions, to give as many local children as possible the chance to get active and improve their football skills, regardless of ability.
Mr Robertson said: "This type of private-public partnership is something I want to encourage in grassroots sport. Millions more young people across the country will get the chance to receive proper coaching, hone their skills and, most importantly, get out there and enjoy playing our national game."
Mr Brooking added: "The FA Tesco Skills Programme continues to be a huge success across the country and we are delighted to announce our target of offering 4.7 million places on coaching courses by 2014. The programme excels in building boys' and girls' self-esteem just as much as their football skills."
The programme is open to boys and girls aged five to 11 of all abilities and background, with girls only and disability sessions also available. For more information visit www.thefa.com/skills.
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