3 September 2017
Great opportunity to develop as a coach, travel and get involved with community football projects.
Waking up on the edge of a rainforest in Uganda, you lace your boots as the sun rises ready for another day of coaching enthusiastic, football mad local kids... It sounds like a good opportunity, doesn’t it?
Even better, This Girl Can Islington are offering eight free places on to Stage 1 of the Arsenal Gap Year for women living in the borough!
Arsenal are currently recruiting 'Gappers' for their November intake of the Arsenal Gap Year Programme, giving everyone the opportunity to take a truly unique gap year that boosts your CV, enables you to travel the world and gain key qualifications that will help you stand out from the rest, whilst all the while having possibly the best year of your life with Arsenal in the Community.
Starting in November, you will have an intensive month of Coach Education – learning how to coach kids and adults from Arsenal in the Community coaches, explore how the game can be used as a social vehicle to engage those hardest to reach and build life lasting friendships with your fellow Gappers.
You will develop your coaching skills and confidence in local primary and secondary schools as well as get involved with numerous Arsenal in the Community activities before getting ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
Arsenal in the Community has partner projects all over the world. After Stage 1, you will be packing your bags ready to spend three months coaching football and developing your leadership skills at one of their partners from India, Uganda, Ghana, Bolivia, Australia or South Africa, Philippines and Hong Kong.
Previous Gappers have gone on to careers in teaching, social work, sports marketing, coaching roles at professional clubs – both in the UK and abroad, as well as into further education.
If you’re keen to know more and apply for Arsenal's November intake take a look here visit: arsenal.com/community/gapyear
A Gapper's story
Lola Ogunbote joined the Arsenal Gap Year in August 2016. She sacrificed a successful career as a lawyer to follow her passion. She had a dream to inspire more girls to play football, just as she did as a child. Such was her dedication to making her dream become a reality, she worked night shifts with a law firm for 4 months, never failing to turn up for coaching the next day.
During her placement in Mozambique, the norm was for 200 local boys to take part in a big tournament. Lola took it upon herself to insist that girls were invited to take part in a tournament of their own.
She was perfectly aware of the cultural attitudes towards women playing football. She also knew she would face resistance from the girls’ families. Lola remained bold and determined not to deprive the girls of the opportunity to play. She won over those she needed to and the 30 girls who took part were on cloud nine that they were allowed to play in the tournament for the first time.
Lola’s impact on the community in Mozambique does not end there. Based at a local football club, the men’s first team were used to having coaches from Arsenal in the Community visit each year. So far they had all been male. Lola admitted to feeling apprehensive as to how she would be received as a female coach, coaching a men’s team. She describes them now as a team of brothers.
Clearly, Lola has a bright future in the game. Not just as a coach, but also a mentor, a role model and a trailblazer in the women’s AND the men’s game. As a result of her time on the Gap Year, Lola has recently accepted a job offer to work in Beijing, China as a coach with Wanguo Qunxing Football Club – we wish Lola all the best on her new venture!
Learn more by watching Lola’s reflection on her Gap Year here:
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