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Two decades ago, Robbie Williams and football agent Kenneth Shepherd attended a charity match at Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium. Inspired by the event, they envisioned a similar spectacle to raise funds and awareness for children in need across the globe. This vision materialised into Soccer Aid for Unicef in 2006, initially intended as a one-off event. Fast forward 18 years and 13 star-studded matches, Soccer Aid has raised an astounding £106 million for children in some of the world's most deprived areas.


Sunday’s match at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, witnessed by a packed crowd and 3.6 million TV viewers, was a testament to Soccer Aid's enduring appeal. England's 6-3 victory over the World XI, their first win since 2018, alone raised £15 million for Unicef. Reflecting on this success, Robbie Williams expressed his gratitude: “Thank you for your kind messages about Soccer Aid. Un-f-ing-believable. Just absolutely incredible. So proud and so pleased.”


The impact of Soccer Aid is profound, both in terms of funds raised and awareness generated. Robbie Williams, who began working with Unicef in 1998 and became an ambassador two years later, has seen his brainchild grow beyond expectations. "Soccer Aid has spiralled into something I couldn’t have ever imagined," he remarked. "It's helped so many people and raised incredible awareness for Unicef."


Kenneth Shepherd, son of ex-Newcastle owner Freddy Shepherd, recounted the origins: “The idea was conceived when Dad and I met Robbie at The Match in 2004. Suddenly, Soccer Aid was born, turning into a global initiative for children around the world.”


Sunday’s match was not just a fundraiser but also a source of entertainment, featuring moments like Tommy Fury's comedic missteps. Robbie Williams' pride in the event was palpable: “Soccer Aid has teams in place to work year-round to organise the event and help distribute the funds with Unicef.”


Steve Halls, founder of NexxtGen Football, shares in this pride, emphasising the importance of such initiatives. "Soccer Aid represents the spirit of football - uniting for a greater cause. As we gear up for our new season, it's inspiring to see how football can make such a significant impact off the pitch."


The light-hearted moments, such as Tommy Fury's humorous on-field antics and Jose Mourinho’s pitch invasion to tackle singer Olly Murs, add to the event's charm. But beneath the fun lies a serious commitment to making a difference. Robbie Williams noted, “Donations could help Unicef provide life-saving food supplies, ensure children receive vaccinations, and help get children back to school.”


The competitive spirit among participants, from ex-footballers to celebrities, enhances the event's appeal. Notably, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and his uncle, Harry Redknapp, brought professionalism and a desire to win to the England team.


Soccer Aid’s journey from a single match to a global fundraising phenomenon underscores the power of football to effect change. Robbie Williams, a British icon and a dedicated philanthropist, has created a legacy that will continue to inspire and support children worldwide.


Join us in supporting this incredible cause. Donate to Soccer Aid and help Unicef continue their vital work.


 

Steve Halls is an FA qualified football coach and football consultant, working at grassroots level but hugely passionate about the beautiful game as a whole. Steve works closely with clubs in his local area and offers consultancy services, mentorship, and player representation.





June is a month dedicated to the vital cause of Men’s Health. It serves as a reminder for men to prioritise their health, encompassing both physical and mental aspects. This initiative aims to heighten awareness, encourage regular health check-ups, and promote healthy lifestyles among men. However, Men’s Health Month extends beyond the physical realm, casting a spotlight on mental health, a topic often overshadowed by stigma and stereotypes. As we delve into this subject, it is crucial to understand the multifaceted nature of men's health and the societal implications of neglecting it.


The Physical Aspect: Beyond the Surface

Physical health is often the first thing that comes to mind when discussing men’s health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine medical check-ups are fundamental components of maintaining physical well-being. However, statistics reveal a troubling trend: men are less likely to visit doctors for routine check-ups compared to women. This reluctance can lead to late diagnoses of various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, which could have been managed more effectively if caught early.

Key Physical Health Tips for Men:
  • Regular Check-Ups: Routine health screenings can detect issues early when they are most treatable.

  • Balanced Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains supports overall health.

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can prevent chronic diseases, improve mood, and enhance longevity.

  • Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol: Reducing these can significantly lower the risk of numerous health issues.

The Silent Struggle: Men’s Mental Health

While physical health is paramount, mental health is equally crucial. Men’s mental health often goes unaddressed due to societal expectations and stigma. The stereotype of the stoic, unflappable male persists, discouraging men from expressing vulnerability or seeking help. This cultural norm contributes to alarming rates of mental health issues among men, including depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Alarming Statistics:
  • Men are nearly four times more likely to die by suicide than women.

  • Depression in men often goes undiagnosed, as men are less likely to seek help.

  • Substance abuse is more prevalent among men, often used as a coping mechanism for unaddressed mental health issues.

Breaking the Silence: Encouraging Open Conversations

Addressing men’s mental health requires dismantling the stigma surrounding it. Open conversations about mental health can normalise seeking help and expressing emotions. It’s essential to create environments, both at home and in the workplace, where men feel safe to discuss their mental health without fear of judgment.

Steps to Promote Mental Health:
  • Encourage Open Dialogue: Foster environments where men feel comfortable discussing their mental health.

  • Seek Professional Help: Encourage men to consult mental health professionals when needed.

  • Support Networks: Building strong support systems with family, friends, and peer groups can provide crucial emotional support.

  • Mindfulness and Stress Management: Practices such as meditation, yoga, and stress management techniques can improve mental well-being.

The Intersection of Physical and Mental Health

Physical and mental health are deeply interconnected. Poor physical health can lead to mental health issues and vice versa. For instance, chronic illnesses can result in depression or anxiety, while mental health disorders can lead to poor lifestyle choices, affecting physical health. Therefore, a holistic approach to health, considering both physical and mental aspects, is essential for overall well-being.

Holistic Health Tips:
  • Integrated Health Practices: Combining physical exercise with mental health practices, such as meditation or counselling, can enhance overall health.

  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Balanced nutrition and regular exercise benefit both physical and mental health.

  • Routine Health Checks: Regular visits to healthcare providers should include mental health screenings.

The Role of Society in Men’s Health

Society plays a significant role in shaping attitudes towards men’s health. Educational campaigns, policy changes, and workplace wellness programs can make a substantial difference. By promoting a culture that values health and well-being, society can help dismantle harmful stereotypes and encourage men to take proactive steps towards their health.


Societal Changes Needed:
  • Awareness Campaigns: Public health campaigns can educate men about the importance of regular health check-ups and mental health care.

  • Policy Support: Government policies that support mental health services and preventive care can improve health outcomes.

  • Workplace Wellness Programs: Employers can offer wellness programs that address both physical and mental health, creating healthier work environments.

A Call to Action

June’s Men’s Health Month is not just a calendar event; it’s a call to action. It’s a reminder that men’s health encompasses both physical and mental well-being and that addressing one without the other is incomplete. By fostering open conversations, encouraging regular health check-ups, and promoting healthy lifestyles, we can make significant strides in improving men’s health. Let’s use this month as a starting point to advocate for a more holistic approach to health that considers the intricate balance between the body and mind.

Remember, health is not just the absence of illness but a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. This June, let’s commit to a healthier future for men everywhere.


Look after yourselves, look after one another!


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Learn more: https://bit.ly/nexxtgenadidas & follow @adidasfootball


NexxtGen Football is thrilled to announce a groundbreaking new partnership with Adidas, one of the world's leading sports brands. This collaboration comes at an opportune time as we gear up for the new season, ensuring our players have access to the very latest football boots and training wear.


About Adidas


Adidas has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1949 by Adi Dassler. The brand has become synonymous with innovation, quality, and excellence in sports apparel and equipment. Over the decades, Adidas has built a formidable reputation, particularly in the world of football. The iconic three stripes have been worn by some of the greatest athletes in history, making Adidas a household name across the globe.


Adidas Football


Adidas Football is at the forefront of the brand's success, consistently pushing the boundaries of football technology and design. Their range of football boots, including the iconic Predator, has set new standards in the sport. The Predator, first released in 1994, revolutionised football footwear with its unique rubberised zones designed to enhance control and swerve. This boot quickly became a favourite among top players and has seen numerous iterations over the years, each improving on the last.


Iconic Players and Sponsorships


Adidas has sponsored some of the most famous football players in history. Legends such as Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and Lionel Messi have all worn Adidas boots during their illustrious careers. The brand continues to support a new generation of stars, including Paul Pogba, Mohamed Salah, and Paulo Dybala, ensuring that the Adidas legacy remains strong on the world stage.





A Word from Steve Halls


Steve Halls, founder of NexxtGen Football, expressed his excitement about the new partnership:

"This collaboration with Adidas is a monumental step for NexxtGen Football. Adidas is a brand that resonates with excellence and innovation, qualities we strive to instil in our players. As we prepare for the new season, this partnership ensures our players will have access to the best football boots and training wear available. The timing couldn't be better, as our boys are eagerly looking forward to gearing up in the latest Adidas gear."


Halls continued, "We've always believed in providing our players with top-notch resources, and this partnership with Adidas takes it to the next level. The history and prestige of Adidas Football, especially with iconic products like the Predator boots, align perfectly with our mission to develop the next generation of football stars."


Visit Adidas Football


Explore the latest range of Adidas Football products here: Adidas Football


Disclaimer


We may receive a small commission for any Adidas products sold via our website.


This partnership marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for NexxtGen Football. With Adidas by our side, we are confident that our players will not only perform their best but also feel inspired by the rich legacy of one of football's greatest brands. Stay tuned for more updates as we embark on this incredible journey together.


Steve Halls is an FA-qualified football coach and football consultant, generally working at grassroots level but hugely passionate about the beautiful game as a whole. Steve works closely with clubs in his local area and offers consultancy services, mentorship, and player representation.


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