EVERTON Club captain Seamus Coleman recently helped Everton in the Community staff surprise a young participant at Finch Farm and recognise him as a recipient of the Premier League’s ‘One of Our Own’ campaign.
The Premier League-wide campaign sees clubs celebrate an individual who has shown exceptional commitment to their community and the official charity of Everton Football Club selected 18-year-old Shea, a participant in its weekly PL Kicks Youth project.
Evertonian Shea has been attending Everton in the Community sessions since November 2021, amassing more than 90 hours as a participant. Last summer, he began assisting the charity’s staff with the younger group at the Youth Zone, helping to set up and run activities whilst acting as a positive role model to all those around him.
Charity staff nominated Shea to be recognised as ‘One of Our Own’ and he was in attendance at Finch Farm to help deliver a half-term coaching session to young people from Everton in the Community’s PL Kicks sessions with young people from Austin Rawlinson. The session was shortly interrupted by Blues Captain Coleman who was on hand to let him know the news and present him with limited edition artwork and a ‘One of our Own’ scarf.
Shea aspires to a future career in coaching and sports and once he was over his initial shock, took the opportunity to ask his Toffees hero Coleman for any tips and advice about a career in football.
Reflecting on the surprise, Shea said:
“I just thought I was coming in today to help the staff deliver a coaching session – I didn’t know the venue and then got brought to the training ground! When Seamus came out I was just shocked, I never expected this.
“I first started coming to Everton in the Community with my friends to play footy a few years ago and just kept coming. Then I was asked if I wanted to help out on Thursday night’ so I said yes – helping kids get better at the footy and seeing them happy is what I really enjoy doing.
“I’m very proud to be recognised today – I’ve been helping with the coaching in my own time and have never expected anything from it. I do it because I enjoy it but to be awarded with this by one of my heroes is just brilliant.”
Republic of Ireland international Coleman added:
“It’s been great to meet Shea, find out more about what he’s achieved and celebrate him as a ‘One of Our Own’ recipient on behalf of the Club, charity and the Premier League.
“Shea is a budding coach and I was chatting to him about this during the session – he’s a year into his coaching journey and he’s got the bug. It was good to see him in action and I’m sure he’ll only continue to improve because it’s clear that he really loves it and that’s really important as a coach.
“As players of this football club, we understand the importance of having a connection with the people around us and I was more than happy to give my time today to play a part in the surprise – Shea is the hero today and it’s yet another example of just how incredible Everton in the Community are.”
Everton in the Community Youth Inclusion Manager Jen Harden was the member of staff who nominated Shea to be recognised:
“Shea is such a deserving recipient; he’s been attending our Kicks sessions for a long time and he’s a positive role model to our young people. He helps out on our Thursday sessions and is someone who our young participants really look up to. He deserves it so much – he does everything with a smile on his face, gets on with everyone and he’s such a humble and really likeable lad.
“When Shea first attended our sessions he was quite low on confidence, struggled to make eye contact with staff and wasn’t in employment – since the work he’s done with us in the charity it’s given him the confidence to go and get employment. He really enjoys coming to sessions and now he’s decided he wants a career in coaching and wants to pursue his coaching badges, it’s a massive change. Seamus Coleman is one of his heroes and we are very appreciative to him for giving his time today, it was priceless to see Shea’s reaction.”
Everton in the Community’s delivery in Speke and Garston, including at Austin Rawlinson, is made possible thanks to funding received from the Steve Morgan Foundation to deliver early intervention programmes aimed at tackling the barriers facing young people in attaining a good education and subsequent employment.
The ’One of Our Own’ campaign is part of the wider Premier League Supports campaign that has been delivered across the League during the first two weeks of April, highlighting the impact that its investment has had on communities and wider football.