Ahead of his return to Old Trafford for the Legends of the North match against Liverpool FC on 21st May, Jaap visited Eccles College in Salford to spend time with students on Manchester United Foundation’s BTEC in Sport programme.
Jaap wasted no time getting involved with the session, walking straight onto the training pitch and taking the lead as he has been so used to in his managerial roles at Reading, Feyenoord and FC Cincinnati, to name a few, since retiring from professional football in 2007.
“Coaching is what I've always loved to do but not everybody gets that opportunity, so it’s so important we can help these kids out by giving them the tools to become a good player or a good coach,” Jaap said. “Hopefully they are enjoying themselves as well, and have that feeling that United is helping them – it's a great initiative to be a part of.”
Manchester United Foundation runs the BTEC in Sport in partnership with Eccles and Pendleton Colleges in Salford, providing students aged 16-18 work experience opportunities and the chance to gain internationally recognised coaching qualifications. Participation in the BTEC in Sport programme has led to careers in coaching, personal training, teaching, physiotherapy and sports therapy.
Gil, 19, relished the experience with the former Reds defender as a fellow centre-back. He said: “Jaap gave us very helpful tips – how to control the game, the tempo, the pace, and when to find spaces.”
Fellow student Ellis, 18, added: “It was an absolutely amazing experience – the advice he’s given us is once-in-a-lifetime.”
Jaap, who made 79 appearances for Manchester United during his three seasons at the club, winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, the Intercontinental Cup and the UEFA Champions League, reiterated how much he enjoys supporting the Foundation, and can’t wait to play his part in raising vital funds through the upcoming legends match.
“I love doing anything for Manchester United Foundation and I think it's very important to help out these kids and maybe give them a better future and make their dreams come true,” Jaap said. “It's very important for people to support the legends match as money is needed to help these kids so they have a good and healthy future.”
Jaap will join other former players including Gary Neville, Antonio Valencia, Diego Forlan and Paul Scholes, when he joins Bryan Robson’s squad for the Legends of the North match against Liverpool on 21st May.
Tickets are still available and all proceeds go to Manchester United Foundation’s work with young people across Greater Manchester.