UEFA Grassroots and Electronic Arts Inc. have agreed a multi-year partnership to further support community level football, launching a free-to-access digital library of football training practices.
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At the Grassroots Festival of Football in Stockholm on 13 October, UEFA Grassroots and EA Sports FC have announced a new partnership for community level football and launched a library of online training practices available to all.
These online games were created in collaboration with UEFA coaching experts who contributed their knowledge and expertise to infuse into the digital training methods. Available in six languages, the practices are designed to enable coaches, teachers and players to use them in real-life and improve core football skills such as dribbling, passing, defending and finishing, with the help of expert coaches offering tips and guidance.
Zvonimir Boban, UEFA technical director and chief of football
"UEFA is delighted to endorse EA SPORTS’ innovative venture, seamlessly merging virtual and real-world football experiences. This initiative offers youngsters a multi-dimensional engagement with the sport and provides an inclusive platform for players and coaches of all levels. That is precisely the leading idea of the UEFA Grassroots Programme - to keep football accessible, safe and fun for everybody who wants to participate while fostering a strong bond with local clubs, schools and communities."
James Salmon, EA SPORTS senior director, brand
"FC FUTURES is focused on developing community level football worldwide. That’s why it's such an honour to have UEFA’s support and backing, especially in events like the Festival of Football. Whether it's events like today or FC FUTURES’ new training practices, we share the belief that integrating real-world football with the digital gaming experience offers the chance to captivate players, old and young, all over the world. The lines between virtual and physical football are blurring, it’s a crucial step to inspiring the next generation of football lovers across the globe."
Grassroots Football Festival in Stockholm
The new partnership was announced at a special UEFA Grassroots Football Festival in Stockholm earlier this month, as part of EA's FC FUTURES initiative. The event brought together 50 young male and female footballers from local schools and clubs who took part in small-sided games and skill challenges directly inspired by the digital library. They were joined by Tottenham Hotspur and Sweden winger, Dejan Kuluševski, who attended the coaching sessions and provided his own hints and tips
Dejan Kuluševski, Tottenham Hotspur and Sweden winger
"I learned to play football in this area and have so much to give back. I’m very excited to be a part of this incredibly important event which I believe will really inspire Sweden’s next generation of footballers.
"Festivals like this offer so much to the community and, combined with EA SPORTS’ training practices are a great opportunity for everyone involved. I only wish I’d had access to these tips and tricks when I was learning to dribble at a young age!"
The festival showcased the grassroots game and the values of community-level football, including respect, diversity, teamwork, resilience and friendship, all while demonstrating how the digital game experience can have a real and positive impact on physical football development and inspire an even deeper love of the sport.
Merging virtual and real-world football experiences
EA SPORTS also revealed a list of 11 football legends of the game who are keen to develop community-level football worldwide. The all-star list includes already announced FC FUTURES ambassadors Ian Wright, Emma Hayes, Zinedine Zidane, Laura Georges and Fernando Morientes. New names include legends Vero Boquete, Zico, Marta, Gianfranco Zola, Bixente Lizarazu, Patrizia Panico and Simone Laudehr.
Additionally, UEFA coaches offered guidance and support to local youth coaches, including methods to deliver their own similar festivals focused around small-sided games and training drills.
UEFA also aims to roll out the festival concept with other National Associations, integrating and bringing to life the skill games across Europe.
Frank K. Ludolph, Head of Technical Development at UEFA
“We're thrilled to partner with EA SPORTS to elevate the grassroots game and inspire the next generation of young footballers.
The collaboration between the UEFA Grassroots Programme and EA SPORTS combines our expertise with their cutting-edge technology, empowering coaches and players and bridging the gap between virtual and real-world football. Together, we're reshaping football education for a lasting impact on and off the pitch.”