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Manchester United Foundation coach named as Premier League Kicks Hero

Manchester United Foundation coach Luke Ross was recently honoured by the Premier League as they celebrate 10 years of their Kicks project.

| by Haylee Blease

Luke has been involved with Manchester United Foundation since the age of 16 when he began participating in the Street Reds programme (formerly known as Kicks) in Old Trafford. The free sessions run in the evenings at 12 locations across Greater Manchester with over 2,500 young people taking part each week.

As the Foundation celebrates its own 10 year anniversary this month, Luke is very much still a part of the programme and is now lead coach of the session he grew up attending. Alongside this, Luke has also been full-time coach within Foundation partner school Manchester Academy in Moss Side. Since 2016 Luke has worked alongside school staff to deliver tailored mentoring interventions aimed at helping individuals realise their potential both socially and academically.

Foundation CEO John Shiels was on hand to present Luke with a unique comic strip illustration designed by Marvel and DC Comics artist John McCrea which showed his story over the last 10 years.

Delighted upon receiving the special honour, Luke said: "Football has always been my passion and my drive to want to play as much as I could, was what led to me joining my local Kicks session. It was only through the encouragement of the coaches there that I realised what my real ambition was - coaching. Kicks has helped me realise my potential and achieve something I could never have imagined. Now I can wear the Manchester United club badge proudly as an employee and not just as a fan.”

Foundation CEO John Shiels added: "Luke is a great example of how the power of the club badge can engage young people. It's a testament to the staff working here that we could assist Luke in realising and achieving his dream to go into coaching. It's been great to see his transition from participant to the lead coach on the Old Trafford Sports Barn Kicks sessions. I hope that his story helps inspire more young people locally to get involved.”