He’s known as the ‘Assist King’, famous for using his incredible vision, skill and creativity to give his Arsenal and Germany team-mates the opportunity to score goals, but yesterday Laureus Ambassador Mesut Özil was focussed on his other passion: assisting young people through sport and giving back to the next generation.
Özil swapped the Premier League for the playground as he spent time inspiring young people from the Laureus-supported Urban Stars programme at Quintin Kynaston Academy in North London. The Arsenal star surprised the young people as they prepared for a football session, and joined them on the field to run through a few passing drills, sharing some of his favourite skills.
Laureus Ambassador Mesut Özil said: “Being here reminds me of growing up playing on the streets in Gelsenkirchen, working hard every day to improve my skills and better myself. I had role models growing up and I’m happy to be here to help these young people be the best they can be. That means doing their best in school as well as on the pitch.
“Away from the pitch, I am passionate about helping young people and working with Laureus Sport for Good gives me the chance to do this through sport. Hopefully the young people I met today continue to learn and develop to reach their goals in sport, education and life.”
As well as joining the football activity, Özil also took the time to speak with the young people, talk about their backgrounds and offer up advice on how to best to stay focused, set goals and work towards them. Özil’s aim was not only to offer advice on football, but to inspire the youngsters to be the best they can be in the classroom, workplace and everyday life as well.
Mohammed Conteh, a participant at the Laureus-supported Urban Stars programme added “Mesut is my hero, he’s an amazing footballer and he told us that if we work hard, stay focused and set goals, we can be successful in school, life or even sport. He told us that he was where we are once, and that with determination, anything is possible. I will never forget my day today.”
Laureus Sport for Good uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world.