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Squad aims to look pitch-perfect in new kit

Newcomers to the ‘beautiful game’ in Maidstone have received a grant to smarten up their act

From News & press - 5 July 2021 12:00 AM

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MPE Football Club under-11s team has received a £250 sports award towards the cost of a new away kit from the local electricity firm, UK Power Networks.

Their volunteer manager, Damon Cochrane, works for the energy company as a cable jointer and applied for the grant from his employer to support his new team.

Damon explained: “It was incredible to receive a cash injection for our squad and we plan to invest it in a new away kit or training equipment to help us grow the team.

“They are a good bunch of kids who deserve all our support. We have been going out on the pitch wearing hand-me-downs competing against professional looking teams. These kids deserve better and when you feel better, you feel pride and you can play better.”

Damon has been managing the team of 14 players for the last 18-months. They started from scratch, formed from girls and boys who had never played football before.

He explained: “It’s a bit like herding cats at times but it’s so rewarding when they listen and I do love it. It is like having a second full-time job because there is a lot of administration, chasing subscriptions and organising friendly matches.

“It’s so worthwhile because it teaches social skills, enables them to make new friends, encourages discipline, work ethics and gets them working together as team.”

The team train every Wednesday evening at YMCA Maidstone, in Loose, play home matches at their new ground South Park, in Armstrong Road and compete in Maidstone Invicta Primary League.

The Team Sport Award scheme is run by UK Power Networks to encourage staff to volunteer in the community and is aimed at promoting healthy living, teamwork and developing sports opportunities. In 2020, more than 60 local sports teams connected to UK Power Networks’ staff benefited from a share in £15,500.