On Air Now

Your Harrogate Radio

10:00pm - 6:30am

Now Playing

Bob Marley / The Wailers

No Woman No Cry

Harrogate soccer school celebrates 20 years in the town

A Harrogate soccer school that has produced a number of successful football stars is celebrating its 20th year.

Harrogate soccer school celebrates 20 years in the town A Harrogate soccer school that has produced a number of successful football stars is celebrating its 20th year. Futbol de Salao (FDS) Harrogate was launched in 2003 and has gone on to coach over 5,000 children in the town. Among those who have gone onto a career in football are Leeds United stars Archie Gray and Harry Christy, Stan Mills at Everton, Will Hugill at Burnley and George Horbury at Harrogate Town. And another FDS graduate, Harry Leonard, was on the scoresheet as Blackburn Rovers beat Cambridge United 5-2 in the FA Cup on Saturday (6th January). Head coach Stuart Owen said:

“In the early years of the Soccer School my eyes were opened to the incredible achievements that children are capable of when a young boy called Joel Fireman, in year 2 at the time, performed 1,435 kick ups with a football. “This made me realise that the possibilities for the children using our training programme were limitless and I have been lucky enough to witness many amazing achievements over the years that inspire confidence and belief in everyone at out classes.”
[caption id="attachment_95614" align="aligncenter" width="551"] FDS Harrogate is celebrating 20 years in the town.[/caption] FDS also encourages its players to excel outside of football. Rebecca Hugill, who came to FDS at the age of 8, has gone on to become a World Champion freestyler. Luke Richardson, another FDS graduate, has became the youngest Europe’s strongest man, whilst George Mills was the British 1500m champion in 2020 and is the 3rd fastest British athlete over 1 mile. Stuart Owen added:
“I am very proud of the fact that we have never selected players on ability as we are confident of producing excellent footballers regardless of previous experience. “I have seen 20 other soccer schools come and go in the town since I began. “In the early days we had David Beckham’s Soccer academy and more recently Real Madrid are running camps, but the one constant is FDS Harrogate and with 30 classes and over 400 children attending each week the future continues to look very bright. “We are hoping to have our first Premier League goalscorer and full England international from Harrogate in the next few years.”
FDS Harrogate Futbol de Salao (FDS) launched as ‘Brazilian Soccer Schools’ before changing its name 10 years later. At the heart of the unique training programme is the South American game of Futebol de Salao, brought to England by Simon Clifford, who also founded the Brazilian Soccer Schools and Socatots programmes. The children are taught around 200 core skills, turns, moves to beat players and passing techniques using 6 surfaces of both feet. But before any football considerations one of the main aims of the soccer school is to help the children become good young people. Of the children that have taken part in FDS, 500 gave gone on to have trials with professional clubs, 187 have signed professional contracts and 12 children have become junior internationals. Harrogate now has professional footballers in all of the top 4 divisions in England and all spent their formative years developing at the FDS Harrogate Soccer School. Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

More from Local News