Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has paid tribute to City Football Schools across the UAE as the coaching programme celebrates its 10-year anniversary.
Having initially launched in 2010, City Football Schools has just announced an expansion for the new season with a total of seven venues in operation across Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Over the course of the last 10 years, more than 10,000 aspiring young players in the UAE have received expert coaching to help them improve their skills.
Portugal international Silva, who has won six major trophies since joining City in 2017, said the work of the City Football Schools had been vital, particularly during the conronavirus pandemic.
“It has been great to see players across the UAE linking up with City Football Schools and Manchester City to stay as fit and active as possible during the pandemic – and keeping their skills sharp,” he said.
“As a club we have the same values from the first team down through the youth levels and it’s all about working hard and remembering to have fun – and behaving the right way on and off the pitch.
“We have seen City Football Schools go from strength to strength and a huge part of that is the players and coaches involved having these very same values.”
For the new season, sessions will be open to players aged 3-16, with campuses in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City, Emirates Palace and a new location at Al Maryah Island.
For Dubai-based players who want to get involved, the sessions will take place at Brighton College, Jumeirah Baccalaureate School, Koora Dome and Uptown School in Mirdif.
In the last 10 years, City Football Schools has delivered 30,000 coaching sessions, with 37 UAE nationals progressing to play for professional clubs. During that period, over 500 children have been given the opportunity to visit the Etihad Stadium in the UK.