By Elli Collins
With technology becoming more prominent in children’s lives, it is so important to keep them active.
Enter Pro Elite Football Academy, a coaching company with classes for children as young as 18 months. Founded in 2016, the company has continued to grow, with 10 venues around Enfield to hold sessions on Saturdays and Sundays.
There are also football teams for boys and girls aged 6-16. The current age groups are U7, U8, U9, U10, U13, U16, who attend different sessions on Wednesdays to train.
The company began with just four coaches. Fast forward five years, there are now 28 coaches of both genders, and from all different backgrounds.
What is Pro Elite’s message? Company director, 27-year-old Ali Mustafa said: “We believe that all football academies should represent the following messages: quality coaching, a caring environment and a place that leaves an impact that goes beyond football.”
With over 4,800 Instagram followers – including Gordon Ramsey – it is no secret that the Academy is extremely popular, with nothing but glowing reviews from parents.
Jane, a 32-year-old mum said: “Pro Elite is an essential activity for any child. It allows children to socialise, make friends, and have fun while learning new skills. My child loves coming to the sessions.”
Taking part in football sessions allows children to develop all kinds of new skills. They are able to socialise, make new friends, and learn new things, that they wouldn’t necessarily learn in school.
“Children are like sponges. They learn so much faster than the average adult does, so you really need to make sure that every time you interact with them you are being positive and encouraging. Children learn from your body language, from what you say and how you carry yourself. If you instil confidence within them, they will gravitate towards you and want to learn from you,” Ali said.
So, after hearing about all the success the Academy has gained throughout the years, it was interesting to hear about how it all started.
“I created the Academy because I wanted to embody all of the above qualities, so my favourite part of running Pro Elite is witnessing the improvements in the children,” Ali says.
“That improvement might be a child who has never kicked a ball before who gains the confidence to lead demonstrations, or a child who has shown development in their ability and gets a chance to trial at a professional club.
“There are also some ‘pinch me’ moments. We run annual charity days where everyone associated with Pro Elite turns up and has a blast for the day – sometimes I just take a step back and look at the community we have built. Those are the moments that I treasure.”
The pandemic has caused businesses to adapt to these unprecedented times, with many even closing for long periods of time.
As the lockdowns have forced all venues to close, Pro Elite has continued to stay connected with the children through Zoom sessions, interactive games on social media, and even Instagram lives.
“The pandemic has been tough, but it has allowed us to take some time back and really assess what it is that we want to achieve with Pro Elite,” Ali Mustafa said. “It has allowed me to hone in on the skills that I wanted to develop, especially in my digital marketing techniques and has allowed us to set the strategy moving forwards.
“We have also made sure to keep all of the parents engaged, by doing free weekly zoom sessions for all of the children. Times like this, money is less important than keeping spirits high, so we are on our 8th week of Free Zoom sessions for every child in our academy.”
Zaine, a five-year-old who attends regular sessions at the Academy said: “Pro Elite is the thing I’m looking forward to most once lockdown is over. I miss seeing my friends, and all the coaches.”
It is exciting to see what the future holds for Pro Elite, and the successes that will come after lockdown.
Team sessions return 31st March.
Toddler sessions return 3rd April.