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Blues boss opens Cruyff Court

A SUNNY Wednesday afternoon in L4 saw Everton manager and Johan Cruyff Foundation Ambassador Ronald Koeman officially open Cruyff Court Everton, a community facility operated by Everton in the Community to provide children in the local neighbourhood with a safe place to play sports.

Joining the Blues boss in looking around the site was Niels Meijer, Director of Cruyff Foundation, and Phil Duffy, Executive Director of Everton in the Community. The Dutchman officially declared the Court open for the local community with the scoring of a penalty which was watched by a guard of honour of local school children and EitC participants.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman had the opportunity to see Cruyff Court Everton being used for the first time when he oversaw a quick-paced game of football played by the Everton Amputee team. The Court was then split into four different activity stations and he spent time with participants from a variety of EitC programmes including the Premier League Girls, Premier League Primary Stars and Breathing Space as well as students from Everton Free School.

Cruyff Court Everton is funded by the Johan Cruyff Foundation, Everton Football Club, The People’s Postcode Lottery, UEFA, Philips Lighting, David Thomas Legacy and Football Aid. The Cruyff Court can be found at The People’s Hub on Spellow Lane and is a modern interpretation of the traditional playing field – bringing back the opportunity of playing sport in the middle of your neighbourhood.

Speaking after the opening, Koeman said: “This facility is great for people of all ages. The Johan Cruyff Foundation gives support to so many communities around the world and it is really fitting that Everton are involved in this project because I think we are number one when it comes to football clubs looking after their communities.

“It is a proud day for me because I was really close with Johan Cruyff and am really proud to be involved with this project and the Johan Cruyff Foundation. Johan would have enjoyed today, he knew what Everton are doing and how they are involved with all these projects. We spoke around a year ago – just before I signed for Everton – about what the Club were doing in the local community and the people in the area and that is what he liked. Football is an important sport in life but to help and support the people is still more important.

“It’s nice for everyone to have this football pitch. No matter who you are, what age you are or anything like that, you can still enjoy this.”

Neils Meijer, Director of Cruyff Foundation, added: “After opening a first Cruyff Court in Liverpool and another two  in London, we are delighted that we can offer the UK another Cruyff Court, this time in close partnership with Everton in the Community.”

The official charity of Everton Football Club, Everton in the Community, will use the Cruyff Court to deliver a wide range of programmes for the entire community including walking football for older participants, football coaching sessions for young children and disability sessions delivered by the charity’s coaching staff and volunteers.

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