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Jason Roberts Foundation starts new football league to help Brent’s youngsters

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 December 2015 | UPDATED: 13:26 29 December 2015

The Jason Roberts Foundation launched their new Hyde League initiative in Wembley last week

The Jason Roberts Foundation launched their new Hyde League initiative in Wembley last week

Archant

The Jason Roberts Foundation have launched an exciting new football league aimed at creating pathways for young people looking for a career in the game in some capacity.

A group of children are all smiles at the event in WembleyA group of children are all smiles at the event in Wembley

The Hyde League, which will also offer employment and volunteering opportunities, will help bridge the gap between grassroots and academy/league football.

The foundation, in partnership with Hyde Housing and Soccerlution, have created the new development league – to be run by young people for young people – which will include an Under-16 and Under-21 team.

The league kicks off next month at the foundation’s Pavilion base in Stonebridge with participants including the QPR and West Ham foundations, as well as Cambridge United, Crystal Palace and Soccerlution. The JRF and the Colin Kazim-Richards academy have also submitted squads.

The Stein brothers, Mark and Brian, gave thought-provoking talks on their journeys into professional footballThe Stein brothers, Mark and Brian, gave thought-provoking talks on their journeys into professional football

At the launch event at the Hilton Hotel in Wembley, guests heard from various high-profile individuals, including the Stein brothers, Mark and Brian, who discussed their journey from South Africa to making it as professionals, while Chelsea’s chief international scout Mick Doherty gave a talk on talent identification.

JRF founder and trustee Jason Roberts and West Ham’s Michail Antonio were also in attendance, and gave their reaction to the news.

Roberts told the Times: “If I would have had this opportunity growing up I think I would have made the step up to the professional game a lot sooner than I did, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for young footballers.

Chelsea's chief international scout Mick Doherty, who discovered the likes of Wayne Rooney and Seamus Coleman, done a talk on talent identificationChelsea's chief international scout Mick Doherty, who discovered the likes of Wayne Rooney and Seamus Coleman, done a talk on talent identification

“It’s not just about those individuals, though, it’s all the other sectors like media, physiotherapy, commercial, coaching, refereeing and business.

“This league opens up pathways for everybody, so I’m excited and confident that we can offer these young people opportunities like this and the skill sets that they otherwise would not have got.”

Antonio added: “I think it’s a great opportunity. I used to take part in the Chelsea Kick sessions when I was younger and they were invaluable to my development.

Jason Roberts (left) and Michail Antonio were both in attendance on the nightJason Roberts (left) and Michail Antonio were both in attendance on the night

“I think this league will provide a better link between non-league and professional football. The youngsters will have more chance of getting recognised as well.”

The League will kick off on the 9th and 10th of January 2016 and will be played at the Pavilion in Stonebridge every second Sunday.

For more information contact Kwame Kumaning via email on kwame@jasonrobertsfoundation.org or by calling 07572 064486. To find out about the league in more detail go to www.jasonrobertsfoundation.com

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