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Sat 24 Jan 2009 12:04 PM

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Arsenal soccer school to make Gulf debut

Bahrain chosen as first ME country to host one of the UK club's coaching schools.

Arsenal is to set up its first soccer school in the Middle East in Bahrain at the end of the year, it has been revealed.

The school will offer professional soccer coaching and facilities to children aged between five and 18, and will encourage youngsters to ‘Play the Arsenal Way,’ the premiership club said in a statement.

Construction of the school will start shortly with facilities including two FIFA approved third generation Astroturf pitches, a large retail store, supporters’ club and a clubhouse and cafe.

“Initially, the focus will be on building a quality soccer school programme to encourage and support growth of youth football in the region,” said  Steve Morrow, Arsenal’s international partnerships performance coordinator.  

“Arsenal will lend its technical assistance to help our partners in Bahrain to achieve their goals of establishing this programme as the leading football academy in the region,” he said.

Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim bin Hamad Al Khalifa added: “We are delighted to welcome the Arsenal Soccer School to the Kingdom of Bahrain and firmly believe the school will be a great asset and positive.”

Abdul Wahid Al Kooheji, Arsenal Soccer School’s partner in Bahrain, who has been a fan of Arsenal since childhood, said he wanted to help build a legacy for the children of Bahrain.

“We will give the children of the Kingdom an opportunity to achieve their goals as well as benefiting from a healthy lifestyle and the team spirit and bond of sport,” he said.

The Arsenal method of coaching, developed over years at Highbury and more recently at Emirates Stadium, concentrates on skills including dribbling, running with the ball, heading, shooting, tackling, goalkeeping, attacking and defending team play, side matches and tournaments, as well as skill competitions.

All the coaches are Arsenal approved and UEFA qualified.

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