Millwall Premier League Kicks Summer 2018

  • 30/08/2018

Millwall Premier League Kicks Summer 2018

As always, it’s been a busy summer for the Millwall Premier League Kicks programme with activities for young people running across the two boroughs of Southwark and Lewisham. The Millwall Premier League Programme is a free youth engagement programme that attempts to use the power and draw of football to engage and educate young people aged between 8-19.


The summer kicked off with a bang with the programme hosting the second leg of the projects graduation match on Wednesday 23rd of May 2018. Over a period of ten years the successful community development inclusion programme has seen many of its participants progress into professional and semi-professional football, football coaches, youth mentors and project management.  The celebratory match took place St Paul’s Sports Ground in Rotherhithe. Two quickfire goals from Deshane Dalling and a penalty from Diallang Jaiyesimi put the second-generation team 2-0 up against their older peers. A few minutes into the second half the first gen outfit pulled a well taken goal back through former Millwall central midfielders Jack Sammoutis, now at Hythe Town. As the first gen side pushed forward for the equaliser the 2nd gen team took advantage of the space left by their opposition pushing forward. Winger Dalling sprinted down the vacated left side and delivered an inch perfect low cross for Koroma to tuck home to make it 3-1 to the second-generation side. However, Koroma was booked for a second booking after taking off his shirt for celebrating. Millwall Premier League Kicks coach and midfielder Hassan Ibrahim slotted home a penalty to make it 3-2 and game on. Five minutes later patient build up which included ten passes in and around the 1st gens penalty area saw the ball slipped into Ansah who calmly finished to make it 3-3 and send the crowd into hysteria. With the 2nd gen side on the back foot and not much time left on the clock the ball broke to 2nd gen midfielder Vidal on the edge of the box who fired a low, powerful shoot into the bottom corner and seal a shocking 4-3 win.

When asked about the impact that Kicks has had on his life local boy and central midfielder and winger Diallang Jaiyesimi said: “Coming to Millwall Kicks has helped me massively. It provided a place where I wouldn’t get distracted on Friday night and be doing unproductive things with my life. Kicks gave me the opportunity to play free football and take part in tournaments across the country which I enjoyed. The coaches provide us all with guidance when you needed it. It’s like a second home.”

August saw the Millwall Premier League Kicks programme host four free football tournaments for young people aged 12-15 and 16-19 with two taking place at the Bellingham Leisure and Lifestyle Centre in Catford, Lewisham and the other two taking place at the St Pauls Sports Ground in Rotherhithe, Southwark. In all the four tournaments engaged over 250 young people from across London including Arsenal in the Community who brought over young people from their Kicks programme. A young person that attended the 12-15 age group tournament at the St Pauls Sports ground commented: “the tournament was really fun. Even though there were around 20 teams that entered it was well run and the games were competitive. The chance to play in a football stadium as nice as St Pauls was good too.”

This summer also see female students from Boston in American spend a week in London with Millwall. Youth Futures International is dedicated to creating and providing opportunities for young people to maximise their potential. The action-packed week included training with the Millwall Lionesses team, visit and train at the Millwall Premier League Kicks girls only session in Bellingham and volunteer as coaches at Millwall Community Trust’s soccer schools at the Lions Centre. The group also visited some City of London attractions including a pre-season Millwall Lionesses friendly and see Millwall’s opening league fixture versus Middlesbrough.

To close the summer the Millwall Kicks programme happily accepted an invitation from Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to attend their annual Godwin Lawson Memorial Cup competition in memory of the budding young footballer who was fatally stabbed in Stamford Hill eight years ago, as he tried to help friends during a street attack. After his death Godwin’s mother, Yvonne, established the Godwin Lawson Foundation to commemorate her son’s life and educate young people about the consequences of gun crime and street violence. Over 80 teenagers representing clubs from across London took part in the five-a-side tournament including young people from the Honor Oak Millwall Kicks session in partnership with Sport Active coaching in Brockley who had the chance to meet premier league footballer Luke Amos. Luke said: “Growing up, I was lucky enough to have lots of opportunities to play football and stay away from any potential trouble. Tournaments such as these are a fantastic way to use the power of sport to engage youngsters and make them aware of the dangers of knife crime and gang culture, helping them to keep safe.”

Millwall Community Trust will continue provide a wide range of weekly football sessions across the boroughs of Southwark and Lewisham under the Premier League Kicks programme. For more information about Millwall’s Premier League Kicks programme, please call 020 7740 0503 or follow us on Twitter @Millwall_Kicks.