The Costa Rican international took time out from preparing for this weekend’s home game against Fulham to meet youngsters at their weekly football coaching session with the Blues official charity.
The programme has recently launched in Kirkby to offer free football coaching in a bid to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour across the borough.
Four evenings a week, Everton in the Community coaches engage with hundreds of local young people as they visit community centres in Westvale, Towerhill, Southdene and Northwood.
Youngsters at Westvale Community Centre were delighted to welcome Oviedo to their weekly session, where he took part in a series of shooting, dribbling and passing drills.
Oviedo, whose national team was drawn in the same group as England at next summer’s World Cup, said: “It’s been great to come along tonight and meet all the kids. It’s really important that we get out in the community to support projects like this and Everton in the Community are clearly making a massive difference to the lives of the young people here.
“The kids were all asking me about the World Cup draw and how well Everton are playing at the moment so it was nice to speak to them and join them in their coaching session.
“Too often young people stay home and play on their computer games or can get involved in trouble so projects like this make a difference to the whole community, and their health and fitness.”
Kicks is delivered in partnership with Knowsley Council, Your Housing Group, Liverpool Housing Trust and Merseyside Police youth engagement team. The organisations work alongside each other to signpost young people who are in danger of getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
As well as football coaching, participants in the Kicks project have the opportunity to gain a vocational-based qualification through completing various challenges and putting together a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate their abilities and life skills.
Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Community and Culture, Cllr Eddie Connor, said: “Everton in the Community’s football coaching sessions have been a huge success, providing positive activities for local young people and helping them develop their soccer skills. We’re delighted that Everton is now supporting the Kicks programme which will offer even more great opportunities to local youngsters.”
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