Charlton Athletic’s Jason Pearce and George Lapslie visited Charlton Athletic Community Trust’s (CACT) newly-relaunched Charlton Challenge programme this week.
Charlton Challenge sessions for 2-12 year-olds take place at seven different venues across South East London and Kent.
The revamped programme puts participants in four groups: Toddler Soccer, for 2 to 3-year-olds, FUNdamental Challenge, for 3 to 5-year-olds, Technical Challenge, for 6 to 8-year-olds, and Matchplay Challenge for 9 to 12-year-olds.
Sessions run most weekdays from 4pm, depending on the venue. They are delivered over a period of 12 to 16 weeks, three times a year. At the end of the course, participants receive gifts and certificates.
On Monday 9 September, club captain Pearce attended a session at Sutcliffe Park Sports Centre in Kidbrooke.
“I think it’s great and I think all the different stages they do within the course is great.
“It’s great for their learning, improving their ability and then once they go into a match, they’re more ready for it.”
On Tuesday 10 September, midfielder Lapslie answered questions from participants at Crook Log Leisure Centre in Bexleyheath, discussing his own journey from participant to professional.
“I came to the community programmes myself when I was younger, then I went into the Academy and then the first-team, and I remember being in these boys’ shoes.
“At the end of the day, the community is the club really. We’re a family club, players come down and support initiatives like this and I think it’s good.
“It’s important to get children involved in sport from a young age so they can enjoy the games, and it gets them off their computers”, he added.
Charlton Challenge is also available at Sevenoaks Leisure Centre, Erith Leisure Centre, Edenbridge Leisure Centre, Sidcup Leisure Centre and Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich.