October 18, 2021

Reading FC Partnership: Meeting Méïté

As part of the School’s partnership programme with Reading Football Club, on Thursday 14th October, our future footballers met with Royals winger, Yakou Méïté.

After impressing Yakou will their pace and passion on the field, the group took up the opportunity to speak with the footballer and ask his advice. Alfie in Year 10 reported back, “We asked questions about his career and what steps we should take to achieve the same goals. He spoke to us about pushing ourselves and said with hard work and dedication we could achieve our dreams.”

“When the students turned up a lot of their faces just lit up. It’s great for them to have someone to look up to.” said Community Trust Coach, Harry Hughes, from Reading FC. Harry has been getting to know our keen footballers this term as he coaches them through our co-curricular programme.

Despite being a Spurs fan, Sixth Form student, Albie, was delighted to meet Méïté. “Being able to have a 1-2-1 with him, I learned a lot and he gave me advice on what I, as a keeper, needed to work on and he also said there was a potential of us having a training session when he got better which was incredible to hear.”

“I’m thoroughly enjoying the partnership with Reading as it allows me to develop myself as a footballer and having the dream of wanting to make it to elite level football, this is a big opportunity for me to prove myself to the club. We are currently in rugby season so if this is what is happening so early on I can only dream of what’s coming in football season!”

“Yakou was kind enough to tell us about his personal journey and how he made it to Reading. I asked Yakou what he thought was the most important part of being a footballer and he said for him it was the ability to research your opponents, learn what they do, what their strengths and weaknesses were – to essentially be able to understand and live in the mind of his opponent in order to beat them when it came to game time.”

Méïté scored 12 goals in 25 appearances for Reading last season. While he recovers from a knee injury, he is keeping busy in the local community. Albie continued “I asked what motivated him to keep going when things got harder, and what is keeping him motivated to keep wanting to be the best version of himself during his injury. He said that for him it was both his parents and his child keeping him motivated at this moment in time. He also added that when he was younger, he already had the mindset that he would make it to the top and that mixed with his following of Islam, allowed him to keep going.”

“This made me ask what he thought of the importance of following a religion in sport was. To this he replied he thought it was extremely important and that although it can be very demanding, just like everything else, it is also very rewarding. He said that having a higher power to look to can help remind yourself of the path you have set yourself on and keep you on track.”

Jez Belas, Director of Sport, commented “The partnership we now have with Reading FC has been so beneficial for all students at the School. The coaching we receive in Games and the co-curricular sessions has developed technical skill and helped inspire our young players. Having Yakou Méïté come in and talk to the students this week added another dimension and we look forward to future events and collaborations.”

“The Reading FC community coaches have really helped to develop some of the technical skills required in football as well as provide a fun inclusive environment for players of all abilities. It has also allowed the boys to get an insight into the world of professional sport.” echoed Sam Bates, Games and Biology Teacher.

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