A scheme fully supported by FIFA and the Canada Soccer Association in conjunction with Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) is set to benefit over 860,000 Canadian schoolchildren as they learn physical literacy through footballing skills.

A special edition of the ‘Move Think Learn – Soccer In Focus’ school resource will help inspire an unprecedented number of Canadian youngsters to stay involved in soccer and leave a legacy for sport, in a way that reaches far beyond the competition.

“FIFA is working closely with Canada Soccer and the National Organising Committee to leave a long lasting legacy beyond the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015,” said Thierry Regenass, FIFA Director of Development and Member Associations. “By supporting such a programme, we are hoping to reach many schools and students and, encourage more girls to play football. Connecting with schools and young children is at the heart of FIFA’s development projects and our association with PHE Canada was the most natural one.”

Chris Jones, Executive Director and CEO of Physical and Health Education Canada agrees. “We are excited to showcase this unique resource,” he said. “Using purposeful game-play experiences is a key part of a quality physical education program, and contributes to the development of physical literacy,” said. “The soccer resource alone has been accessed by thousands of teachers, representing a reach of over 800,000 children and youth. This enthusiasm is exciting to see, and we are eager to continue building on this success.”

The programme, created to celebrate the hosting of the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, was introduced into physical education curriculums across Canada in 2014. It gives eight to 14 year-olds an opportunity to develop important physical and decision-making skills. The resource includes lessons highlighting unique aspects of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, as well as a variety of games to get students engaged, moving, and learning the tactics and skills needed to participate in soccer.

The announcement was made by Physical & Health Education Canada (PHE Canada) and FIFA at Fisher Park PS/Summit Alternative in Ottawa on Wednesday 18 February. Students from the school demonstrated the various soccer skills from Move Think Learn – Soccer in Focus and were inspired by the presence of Canada goalkeeper and Olympic bronze medalist Karina LeBlanc.

“Soccer is a wonderful team sport,” said LeBlanc. “Soccer teaches cooperation and team-building and creates an inclusive environment for learning. The sport has done so much for me, and really helped bring out the best in me. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help inspire Canada’s youth to get involved and reap the many benefits that soccer provides.”