It’s Just Football (IJF) are launching their new goalkeeping academy next month where budding youngsters can train just like the professionals in Dubai.
Under the supervision of Ben Smith, a former goalkeeper for Newcastle United, Leeds and Middlesbrough, the UAE’s stars of tomorrow will be given an opportunity to learn the basics, fine-tune their techniques and improve their match performance.
Registration numbers has already been impressive but IJF are keen to attract more ahead of the new term. They are holding free try-out sessions during the week from September 9 at Dubai College and Nad Al Sheba and are inviting boys and girls between 6 and 16 years to attend.
“This is a brand new venture for us and it’s something that I am looking forward to,” said Smith, head of goalkeeping at IJF.
“During the term, children will learn the basics of goalkeeping, handling, footwork and shot stopping. What I have noticed here in the UAE is that the distribution isn’t really focused on.
“As a goalkeeper, you just have to be as good with your feet as well as the hands. I’ve noticed the goalkeepers out here need a lot of work on that and we will be focusing on that. There’s no point in keeping the ball out of the net but then give the ball away to the other. I’m looking to develop some goalkeepers and hopefully one or two can go abroad and play professional football.”
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among the global icons of football today, Smith admits there is a challenge to change the mindset that goalkeepers can also be superstars. And it’s one that he is relishing in the UAE.
“I think if you look from the Champions League final where Loris Karius’ mistakes cost Liverpool against Real Madrid, it shows that people are talking about how important a goalkeeper is,” added Smith.
“That is now filtering through to grassroots level and is a crucial position if you want to win stuff. For example, France had a world-class goalkeeper when they won the World Cup. Maybe that wasn’t the case 10 years ago but now a lot of people are realising that goalkeepers are integral to winning matches and titles.
“This is something that we want to address at IJF because it’s becoming a key role for clubs across the world and we want to teach children that.”
While goalkeepers of other academies are eligible to join IJF, Smith plans to tap into his contacts book and send a group to the UK to develop their skills in the future.
“In April, we will be planning on taking some of the kids to the north-east of England and watch the Newcastle United goalkeepers train as part of their development,” added Smith. “We’ll do the same at Middlesbrough as it’s important for them to keep learning and see what is needed to succeed.”
What: IJF Goalkeeping Academy
Where: Dubai College and Nad Al Sheba
When: From September 9
Contact: Visit www.itsjustfootball.com
With Eid Al Adha just around the corner, Yas Marina Circuit has introduced fantastic offers to take your Eid fun up a gear.
All through the Eid holidays, family, friends and supercar fanatics alike can enjoy a range of experiences and take advantage of special offers.
Whether it’s testing yourself in a race-prepped Aston Martin GT4, or Mercedes-AMG GTS, Jaguar F-type S Coupe or Formula Yas 3000 on the Grand Prix Circuit or laying down some rubber on its custom-built drag strip in a Chevrolet Camaro; you are guaranteed to have a weekend you won’t forget.
Yas Marina Circuit will be running special promotions at Yas Mall and those that purchase any F1 ticket product at the YMC’s Yas Mall stand will receive a behind the scenes tour of the F1 circuit.
For those that purchase select DriveYAS experiences will receive a free Drift Taxi experience or have the chance to spin the Yas prize wheel for an opportunity to win gifts including Mercedes AMG GTS, Chevrolet Camaro Drag Racing, merchandise and more.
The Yas Marina Circuit’s Yas Mall stand is located on the 1st floor near the food court.
Experiences included in the offer:
A variety of driving experiences are available at the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a fantastic 25 per cent discount to take advantage of. Drivers can live out their racing dreams in an Aston Martin GT4, a Mercedes-AMG GTS, Jaguar F-type S Coupe or Formula Yas 3000 and experience the thrill of Yas Marina Circuit – all supported by expert instructors. The discount is not available for the Ferrari 458 GT experience with offers valid until August 31.
Chevy Camaro Special
An opportunity to race into summer with an awesome 50 per cent off all Yas Marina Circuit’s Chevrolet Camaro Drag Experiences. Those who sign up, will pay a discounted rate of Dh325 and be able to get test their limits in a Chevrolet Camaro under the expert eye of one of Yas Marina Circuit’s drag racing instructors and fly down the purpose-built drag racing strip.
What: Eid offers
Where: Yas Marina Circuit
When: Until August 31
Contact: For more information, visit www.yasmarinacircuit.com
BOUNCE is already a home for thrill seekers across the UAE, but the trampoline and entertainment park has taken extreme sports to another level with their exciting world of Freestyle.
With extreme and freestyle sports going mainstream, they’re no longer only accessible to elite athletes and the crazy few – freestyle is showing up everywhere from gymnastics to cheerleading.
BOUNCE has decided to make freestyle, self-powered sports accessible to everyone. Through well-trained staff, and awesome new features, BOUNCE is providing the entry point, giving everyone the opportunity to get a taste of freestyle in a safe and fun environment.
A visit to BOUNCE is an open invitation to participate in the exciting world of freestyle at your own pace. Whether that is simply bouncing up and down, or learning your first aerial trick.
BOUNCE venues around the world have long been a training ground for some of the world’s leading adrenaline sports athletes: free runners, skiers, skaters and tricksters use BOUNCE trampolines, padding and freestyle features to refine their skills before taking it to the streets, the mountains, the ocean or the sky.
And for everyday mortals, the allure of freestyle is no less appealing.
BOUNCE Regional head coach Cris Cabrera said: “You don’t have to do anything crazy to be a part of the movement, just come in and we’ll take it one trick at a time. As you progress, the tricks gradually become more extreme, eventually incorporating scooters, BMX bikes, snowboards and skis.
“The role of the BOUNCE crew is to encourage, inspire and enable a pathway for everyone to enjoy this exciting new Freestyle world. The staff is great at giving tips and showing how to get started with entry-level tricks to first timers, then on to twisting flips, 360s and Wall-Running Kabooms.”
Book your two-hour Freestyle session for Dh120 at BOUNCE’s Dubai and Abu Dhabi locations, and Dh100 at the Al Ain venue.
Be a part of the Freestyle movement and let your creative mind – and body – run wild at BOUNCE.
What: BOUNCE Freestyle
Where: BOUNCE locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain
When: Open daily
Contact: Visit www.bounce.ae for more information and for booking