Mick McCarthy visits Laureus Urban Stars in south London

London, August 21, 2012
Football favourite Mick McCarthy was hard at work today leading a coaching session with youngsters from the Laureus Urban Stars project at their south London venue.
But the former Premier League and Republic of Ireland international team football manager was not just running football drills at the Aylesbury Estate in Elephant and Castle where the project runs. Mick was also there to teach the kids some valuable lessons as to how positive sport can be in all walks of life.
Mick said: “If you play in a team [like I did] you learn that team ethic. You work for each other. And you can take that on to the streets and everyday life. It will help keep you off the streets too.
“Being a footballer is the best job in the world,” he told the kids. “But whatever you do in life, do your best at it, work hard, and that’s when you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror with pride.”
It was a lesson the kids are taught at every session of the Laureus Urban Stars project they attend.
The Aylesbury Estate Games Area where Urban Stars operate in Elephant and Castle is part of the largest estate in London. It remains a place blighted by crime and was a centre of criminal activity during the London riots of summer 2011.
Positioned at the centre of the estate, the project offers youngsters aged eight to 13 structured football sessions from trained coaches. In doing so, leaders work to promote the early prevention of crime and criminal activity amongst the young people of the community who come to join in.
The kids were a bit shocked to have had the chance to train with such an experienced Premier League manager, but it was clearly one they relished and all were keen on having pictures taken before Mick left.
But the kids also made an impression on Mick too, particularly one former Urban Stars participant, Ibrahim Kanu, who is now a coach at the project himself, mentoring the next generation of project leaders.
Mick told “I love that about Ibrahim, he has really come through the ranks here. Ending up as a team leader and coaching all the other guys; and you never know where this might lead [for him] where it might progress. It’s fabulous.”

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