The latest Manchester United Soccer Schools module in Abu Dhabi has been the most popular for girls yet, but the female footballers in the current line up are calling on more girls to join them and get involved in the sport.
A great way to stay active and meet peers from around the world, the MUSS courses give children from 7 to 16 the opportunity to join the Manchester United family where they will develop on-field football expertise and off-field social skills.
“Football is really fun and definitely open to girls,” said Yara Hashim, a 13 year old Jordanian who signed up to the current course with three of her friends having enjoyed playing at school.
“We get really good nutritional advice, like avoiding fizzy drinks and the importance of a balanced diet, and it’s a great break from studying. We work on different techniques which help us improve on the field and talk about the importance of communication and working as a team.”
While the girls agree that their mothers were apprehensive at first, they all say they’re now supportive and see the benefits of keeping active and learning the techniques of the game.
Rana Shammout, Yara’s mother, said “I had concerns about her playing soccer because it can be especially tough, but she insisted and you can see how much she likes it. She would love to play professionally one day.”
Rula Al Kayyali, ‘soccer mom’ to 13 year old Dara from Australia, has seen a marked increase in her daughter’s focus at school since she started playing football. “Both her concentration and confidence improved, her grades became much better because the sport helps her to focus and I’ve seen such an increase in her levels of self esteem, both emotionally and academically.
The girls too agree that the boys treat them equally and show them respect both on and off the field. Thirteen year old Jasmine Dougherty, a Japanese American, was the joint winner in her class in the latest skills challenge competition which tested the players’ dribbling, short passing and ball control techniques.
Jasmine is one of 30 children who will participate in the Abu Dhabi Skills Final later this year. The top two point scorers in that competition will receive an all expenses paid trip to Manchester to represent Abu Dhabi in the World Skills Final and compete against their peers from around the world, playing in front of 75,000 people at Old Trafford.
MUSS has scored major success in Abu Dhabi since its launch in October 2010 and has enrolled more than 700 children aged between seven and 16 in the first three courses.
Registration is now open for a new summer programme which features 12 hours of on-field coaching by certified MUSS coaches. The cost of AED995 includes an exclusive Nike Manchester United training kit of shirt, shorts and socks, MUSS drawstring bag and water bottle.
Abu Dhabi based developer Reem Investments, which has signed a partnership agreement with MUSS, built the Dome@Rawdhat in order to create a vibrant sporting community in the area.
To learn more about Manchester United Soccer Schools in Abu Dhabi call 02 449 8480 or visit www.manutdsoccerschools.ae.
Caption: From left to right: Jasmine Dougherty, Tara Al Marzooqi, Yara Hashim, Dara Al Kayyali, Rashel Muqattash, Rayan Hassan and Samara Abdul-Ahad who are all signed up the current Manchester United Soccer Schools programme in Abu Dhabi.