ENGLISH Premier League giants Arsenal FC will look to introduce its brand of entertaining football at the junior level here on the North Coast.
In a major coup for Coffs Harbour and Northern NSW Football, North Coast club Northern Storm FC have signed on as an Arsenal Soccer Schools club and will stage a development camp involving Arsenal junior coaches at Korora in January.
Learning to 'Play the Arsenal Way' is certainly an exciting prospect for the Storm.
In a great story, the local association with the FA Cup champions came through an 'off the cuff' comment from 12-year-old goal keeper Mark Eden.
"Mark was attending a four-day Arsenal Soccer Schools camp in Sydney and made the comment to the coaches they should stage a camp in Coffs Harbour," Northern Storm Under 13s coach Eric McCarthy said.
"His mum gave the managing director of Arsenal Soccer Schools the contact and it's gone from there.
"It's a great opportunity for the club and for the area. Kids in the older age brackets certainly have gone past playing soccer for fun and are at the point of wanting to learn more and pick up things.
"It's a great thing for the club and football in Coffs Harbour to have pathways to an EPL club.
"Arsenal football is attacking football, it's about passing it out from the back, moving the ball wide and getting a cross into the box, it's all about executing the penetrating pass through the defence.
"Arsenal play with freedom of expression and the flair isn't coached out of players, it's encouraged.
"The end goal for the club now is to build an ongoing relationship with Arsenal, so we can stage hopefully three to four camps a year, and get our coaches trained up and accredited under the Arsenal Soccer program," he said.
This week the Gunner's laid claim to the FIFA's coveted Puskas Award for Goal of the Year with Olivier Giroud's scorpion kick, judged to be the best goal worldwide in 2016/17.
Netted against Crystal Palace, it highlighted how to 'Play the Arsenal Way' where possession was turned over in the Arsenal goal box and through a series of fast passes Alexis Sanchez was found outwide who laid on a strike for Giroud. And wow what a finish.
Arsenal has signed a two-year agreement with the NSW Government, which saw the Gunners take on Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers in July.
The two matches at ANZ Stadium attracted a combined crowd of 160,000 people and saw Arsenal Soccer Schools juniors take to the pitch for the half-time entertainment.
The EPL club will return to Sydney for pre-season friendlies in July next year.
Watch - Olivier Giroud's Scorpion Goal here. FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year.
ARSENAL SOCCER SCHOOL CAMP - Coffs Harbour
Arsenal Soccer Schools three-day camp - Northern Storm FC, Korora
Plantain Rd, Korora
Friday, January 19, 2018
Cost: $260 per player