Exeter City players help at free football sessions for children

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First team players from Exeter City have joined dozens of youngsters taking part in regular free football sessions which are run in areas of the city highlighted as being in extra need of support.

The players, from both the mens and womens teams joined the Premier League Kicks games as part of the EFL’s Week of Action.

The ethos of the weekly sessions run by Exeter City Community Trust is very much that football is ‘more than just a game.’

Children aged between 8 and 18 can take part.

A Premier Kicks session at West Exe School Credit: ITV West Country

Adam Williams, Inclusion Lead at Exeter City Community Trust said: “We also deliver workshops and events throughout the year, which highlights environmental issues, societal issues, as well as helping build some life skills around emergency first aid and other things like that.

“So the kids really, really enjoy it, get to spend time with friends. But also bringing the communities together a little bit as well.”

For some of the older youngsters the trust works with Devon & Cornwall Police to run sessions on things such as the dangers of knife crime. For the younger ones it’s more about giving them access to free sport.

Twins Lexie & Elia Goldsworthy, 9, said: “We are just having a fun time, playing around, kicking the ball and having fun.

“You have the chance to play football more with mixed people like boys and girls, and it's fun to have a chance to play with other people, even if you don't know them.”

Reece Cole at one of the Premier Kicks sessions Credit: ITV West Country

First team players Tom Carroll and Reece Cole along with Zoe Watkins from Exeter City Women joined a session at West Exe School.

Ms Watkins said: “It is really important so that the young players can see what level they can get to, and what they can aspire to, especially in women's football.

“When I was growing up, we didn't really have much to look up to in terms of idols. We had the men's teams and icons like Steven Gerrard. But in terms of women's icons, you didn't really have much to aspire to.

“So it's great to be involved and have a women's outlet of what they can become and what they can aspire to be.”

Tom Carroll from Exeter City said: “I think it's great for everyone like the coaches to come out and give up their time to do these sessions and it's good for the kids to see us come along and watch them and see how they’re getting on.

”I think that will be good for them as there’s a lot of Exeter City supporters here so it’s nice to show our faces. It brings me back to when I was their age and you know, you just want to have fun with my mates and kick a ball about and it's great that the club put this on for them.”

The Exeter City Community Trust has been running these for the past 7 years, supporting more than a thousand children. They’re held in four locations across the city every week.