by Melissa Clark

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

AFC Youth SquadFuture football stars are getting the chance to play and eat like real Dons Stars with a new free Football Club for kids.

More than 20 primary school children are being invited to take part in a weekly club at Aberdeen Football Club after it received funding from the Tartan Army Children’s Charity (TACC).

The pupils, from the nearby Seaton Primary School, will receive an hour of free expert football coaching at the local indoor football pitches before learning the skills that will encourage them to enjoy healthy meals around their own dining tables at home with family.

 Sodexo Prestige, which provides catering and hospitality services at Aberdeen Football Club, will provide the children with the same freshly prepared, nutritional meals that their football idols will eat that day in the Restaurant at Pittodrie.

Paul Quick, general manager with Sodexo Prestige at Pittodrie, said: “Teaching children from an early age how to eat healthily as well as showing them good table manners, are fantastic skills. It will hopefully help increase the chances of families getting together and have everyone eating nutritious meals around the table.

 “By providing the same freshly prepared meals that the footballers will be eating gives the children the chance to see what healthy food they need to eat to stay fit and healthy, just like the players they look up to.

 “I hope the children all enjoy the club and see how fun it can be to keep active and to enjoy fresh, local foods.”

As well as learning how to take penalty shots and tackle opponents, the pupils will learn how to properly set a dining table and help with cleaning dishes after their meals.

This is designed to help the children learn the importance of coming together around dinner time, something many families fail to do, and enjoy the whole experience.

Steven Sweeney, Senior Scottish FA Community Coach at Pittodrie, who helped organise the scheme, said: “I think this is a fantastic opportunity for local school children to come and learn about healthy living and eat like a professional football player.

“Nowadays, a lot of kids just head home after school and sit around playing computer games but we want to get pupils active and exercising.

 “The children will get one hour of football coaching at the Sports Village gym before they head to Pittodrie for their evening meal.

 “Whether the children want to become professional players when they grow up or not, learning the importance of exercise and eating healthy is something they need to know. Who knows, we could be coaching the next generation of Aberdeen professionals.”

The programme is delivered by AFC in the Community in partnership with Aberdeen Active Schools Network, Sodexo Prestige and Aberdeen Sports Village.

Diane Hay, TACC trustee, said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Seaton Primary School, Aberdeen FC and Sodexo Prestige. The TACC FC program has delivered hugely successful results in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife over the last 4 years and we are excited to be continuing this great work in the North East in the name of the Tartan Army”

Aberdeen Football Club is one of 17 top class venues in Scotland – and 50 in the UK- which partner with catering and hospitality specialists, Sodexo Prestige.

Others include the national stadium at Hampden, Perth and Hamilton race courses and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Sodexo Prestige also provides catering for The Open Championship, one of the world’s biggest golfing events.

As well as providing match day hospitality at Pittodrie, the biggest football ground in Scotland outside of Glasgow, Sodexo Prestige has helped build up a thriving business in non match day meetings and events. The nine event rooms can cater for groups from two to 400 and as well as its accessible location, it offers parking for 600 cars.

Melissa Clark

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