The sun was shining in Walton on Wednesday for the opening of Cruyff Court Everton. The fifth of its kind in the UK, the artificial grass pitch, funded by The Johan Cruyff Foundation and The People’s Postcode Lottery will be operated by Everton in the Community (EiTC) and will provide members of the local community in the area a safe place to play sport.
Everton FC manager and Cruyff Foundation ambassador, Ronald Koeman, was guest of honour and declared the pitch officially open by scoring a penalty watched on by EiTC members and local school children. After watching a game played by the Everton FC disability team, Ronald, a close friend of Johan Cruyff remarked that it was an incredibly proud day and that he is equally as proud to be a part of the project and of the foundation itself.
The pitch is located at EiTC People’s Hub, a community centre opened in November 2016 that is home to many of the charity’s community projects and offers local people a safe haven to socialise and to access vital services. The Cruyff Court will enable Everton in the Community to continue to provide a wide range of programmes for the whole community, as well as introduce new programmes such as, walking football and disability sessions delivered by the charity’s coaching staff and volunteers.
The Cruyff Foundation’s overall aim is to provide children in the UK and abroad with a safe place to play sport, but as Nieeils Meijer, Director of the Cruyff Foundation mentions, the court will offer so much more: “The Cruyff Court offers the community of Everton a playfield that stimulates physical activity, but it is designed to be so much more than just a football pitch. It is a place where pupils learn about respect, responsibility and integration through sports.”
After the successful completion of Cruyff Court Everton the Foundation are now looking forward to the opening of more Cruyff Courts in the UK this year.
To find out more about the Cruyff Foundation please click here.