Chelsea holds clinic for Arab and Jewish children in Jaffa

Avraham Grant, Chelsea's former coach, who was fired by the club two weeks ago, makes a brief appearance.

chelsea 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
chelsea 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Players from Chelsea Football Club of London ran a soccer clinic for over 120 Jewish and Arab children in Jaffa on Saturday. The clinic was one of the final events of Chelsea's trip to the Middle East, which also included a stopover in Amman. "It's been eye-opening," said Simon Taylor, the club's spokesperson. "The welcome we've had in both Israel and Jordan has been absolutely incredible. Taylor added that the trip's success is a testament to the value that football has beyond its attraction as a competitive sport. "You can look around today and see what a difference football makes in young people's lives," he said. "It's not just about winning and losing; it's about bringing people together, and that's something that should be celebrated. "The kids practiced for several hours, during which time they did exercises and ran drills. Jewish and Arab children played together, which Taylor said was one of the clinic's main goals. "Everybody's enjoying themselves," he said. "There are big smiles on their faces. The coaches are enjoying themselves as well." Avraham Grant, Chelsea's former coach, who was fired by the club two weeks ago, made a brief appearance. Ben Sahar, an Israeli reserve for Chelsea who came on the trip, was not at the clinic on Thursday. While this was the team's first trip to the Middle East, it comes following a similar trip to Ghana last year. Both trips are part of a wider initiative by Chelsea to use football to effect humanitarian improvement around the world. "It's about providing football to people who very often may not get those opportunities to play with a club like Chelsea," said Taylor. "It highlights the benefits we can bring to communities and to people," he said. "What's apparent is the enjoyment that young people get from playing." Danny, a Jewish child participating in the program, enjoyed both learning from the Chelsea players and playing with Arab children. "It was fun," he said. "I know everyone here." Chelsea coaches have also worked with their Israeli counterparts on football tactics and youth programming. "We hope to learn from the Israeli coaches, to give them some tips, to learn as much as we have to teach," said Taylor. "The coaches have been talking long into the night. We're really privileged to be here." Regarding any future plans in the region, Taylor said that the team hopes to have a long-term connection with coaches so that they can conduct similar programs in the future. "We need to establish relationships," said Taylor. "What we're hoping to do is give some technical advice to the coaches so they can go back into their communities and do well with their kids. I hope we'll be here in the future."