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Story added: 9th February 2021

Zach Dronfield and Josh Giurgi share their experiences with our football programme participants

As part of a programme of online life-skills workshops for the Community Sports Foundation’s football participants over lockdown, Norwich City Academy duo Zach Dronfield and Josh Giurgi were the latest to share their wisdom.

The Under-23s regulars spoke about their experiences and careers so far to over 130 participants in the online webinar, detailing how they joined the Canaries, and the day-to-day specifics of their training, nutrition, and education.

They covered how they’ve dealt with set-backs, and how resilience has helped them to bounce back.

After sharing their advice on how to best develop to the young participants, both Dronfield and Giurgi then took the time to answer several questions at the end of the session.

This latest session was the third in a series of online life skills workshops aimed at participants on the Foundation’s football development programmes in the past fortnight, having previously had insight from sports psychologist Steve Sallis and City’s first-team nutritionist, Tom Geeson-Brown.

Stevie Bramble, the Foundation’s Head of Curriculum said:

“Our programmes are much more than just football coaching.  Whilst we pride ourselves on developing players on the pitch, ensuring we develop them as good people off the pitch is equally as important to us.”

Alongside the benefits for the Foundation’s participants that these opportunities bring, the sessions are part of a wider initiative to support the off-pitch development of the Academy’s players, too.

Stevie Bramble has been working with Clive Cook and his Academy welfare team to ensure the players regularly get involved with the Foundation’s community work, and meet its participants.

“Obviously while we’ve not been able to run in-person visits this past year, these sessions are the next best thing,” said Stevie. “Zach and Josh are following in the footsteps of the likes of Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Adam Idah, who all spent time with the charity and its participants as Academy players.”

Speaking after the talk, Dronfield felt the session was helpful.

“It was great. It was good for me and I think it was good for the kids as well because they learnt a lot about what it takes and the journey you have to go through to get to where us lads are.

“It’s good for me, as well, because I’m talking to 100 or more kids ranging from ages five up to 15, talking about my journey and what I’ve been through. To speak in front of that many people[…]teaches me life skills.”

He continued:

“I’d definitely do it again, a lot of the guys from the Foundation on the call said to us about how good they thought it was and I got a couple of messages after saying it was a really good call and they really appreciate it.

“Even if it’s for the kids or myself, I learnt a lot doing it and I’m sure the kids learnt a thing or two about the journey from myself and Josh [Giurgi].”

Alongside the wellbeing workshops, the Foundation’s football development programme participants, which number over a thousand, have benefited from weekly football & fitness sessions, quizzes and more.

An upcoming Virtual Development Day this half-term, will see participants given the chance to take part in five hours of online sessions, with the itinerary including training and fitness drills, a healthy lunch cook-a-long, quizzes and a Norwich City FC Legend Q&A.

"Whilst we pride ourselves on developing players on the pitch, ensuring we develop them as good people off the pitch is equally as important to us."

Stevie Bramble

Head of Curriculum

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