Gareth Southgate and Marvin Humes invite thousands of children to try football for the first time


Gareth Southgate and Marvin Humes invite thousands of children to try football for the first time


  • England boss joins McDonald’s and the FA to launch 600 free Fun Football Sessions this Spring

England manager Gareth Southgate joined TV presenter Marvin Humes today to invite parents across the UK to sign up for one of over 600 McDonald’s Fun Football sessions, designed to introduce thousands of children to football for the first time.

Over 12,000 spaces are available for children to try football for the first time at sessions aimed at introducing 5-11 year olds to the nation’s favourite game regardless of gender or disability. The Fun Football sessions are part of the new four year deal between McDonald’s and the Football Association, which together with Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish FAs, will see the restaurant company provide over 5 million hours of football to 5-11 year olds by 2022.

“McDonald’s has played a pivotal role in supporting grassroots football for seventeen years and Fun Football is another crucial step in continuing to make football accessible for young children,” said Gareth Southgate following the session. “This is an exciting launch and I’m honoured to be a part of it. It’s really important that children all over the UK are given opportunities to play football so that we can continue to attract young, new players to the sport and get them enjoying the game.”

Southgate joined Manchester United Women’s Manager Casey Stoney and celebrity dad Marvin Humes to oversee a training day at St George’s Park, The FA’s national football centre. The session showcased the training drills that FA-qualified coaches will be delivering to children around the UK at each of the 150 Fun Football Centres.

Manchester United Women Head Coach and long-time McDonald’s grassroots football ambassador Casey Stoney was also in attendance: “Getting the chance to work with children and introduce them to the game I love has always been one of the most rewarding aspects of my role with McDonald’s. Whether it’s learning a new drill or playing in a match, children’s enthusiasm for the sport is infectious and I’m proud to help raise awareness of these Fun Football Centres. As a mother to three young kids myself it’s exciting to know that thousands of 5-11-year olds across the UK will be given the opportunity to try football for first time for free in a fun, inclusive environment.”

Through these Fun Football Centres, over 500,000 children will have the chance to play football for the first time in 2019. The Fun Football curriculum will include introductory drills perfect for children with no footballing experience, helping them develop their all-round skills.

For those children unable to join the sessions, The FA and McDonald’s have today also launched the FA’s SuperKicks app, available to download on the iOS and Amazon app stores. Home to over 150 skills and drills, SuperKicks aims to enable children and their parents to get stuck into football anywhere – at home, in the garden or in the park and playground. There will also be a Fun Football Activity Book enabling those children aged 5-8 to chart their progress with a series of stickers and creative games available to order from the McDonald’s Fun Football website.

 “We are incredibly grateful to Gareth for lending his support to our Fun Football programme today and I am delighted that the coaches had the chance to hear from our national manager,” said McDonald’s CEO, UK and Ireland, Paul Pomroy. “Over the next month we will run more than 600 free football sessions for 5-11 year olds to introduce them to the beautiful game. As a proud dad of two football mad children, I know how important it is to encourage a lifelong love of sport and an active lifestyle. Through our Fun Football programme we want to provide over 5 million hours of football for children, introducing more than half a million new players to the game by 2022. I hope the coaches have enjoyed today as much as I have!”

Having worked with The FA over the past 17 years, McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK and the opening of these Fun Football Centres is another important step in building on this ongoing partnership.

Registration for the Fun Football Sessions is now open – to find out if there is one happening locally and to sign up go to

For further information on McDonald’s involvement in grassroots football and to find out how your club could benefit, follow @FunFootballUK on Twitter and Instagram.

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For more information contact:

McDonald’s Press Office

0203 892 1000 /

The McDonald’s Sport Press Office

020 7025 6697 /



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