Mark Fish with GRS Coach and trophy

South African football legend Mark Fish poses with GRS Coach Sibiya and the Barclays Premier League trophy.

On February 21st, Grassroot Soccer (GRS) hosted the Barclays Premier League Trophy at the FIFA Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Showcasing a powerful partnership between Barclays and Grassroot Soccer, the event shined a spotlight on the GRS Coach Development Program run in conjunction with Barclays Spaces for Sports.

GRS brings Barclays’ experience and expertise in financial empowerment, literacy, employment, and leadership into communities to train local role models. Over 190 GRS Coaches have been trained and enrolled in a 2-year program. Along with ongoing development sessions, Coaches are employed by GRS, and in 2013, worked as mentors and educators to over 39,000 young people in South Africa.

Accompanying the Barclays Premier League Trophy was Bafana Bafana legend and former Premier League player Mark Fish. Speaking to the power of the beautiful game, Fish said, “Football teaches people life skills, making yourself a better person and loving yourself…and that’s exactly what your [GRS’s] program does.”

Barclays trophy event panel

The Barclays Premier League Trophy event featured a Q&A Panel with, from left, GRS's Chris Barkley and Tony Gubesa, Gideon Serfontein (Head of Citizenship at Barclays Africa), and former national soccer player Mark Fish, moderated by SuperSport's Carol Tshabalala (far right).

The ripple effects of the Coach Development Program stretch far and wide. Having a caring Coach in the life of a young person increases school participation, HIV-related knowledge, and access to reproductive health services. By investing in GRS Coaches, Barclays Spaces for Sports is not only creating opportunities for young leaders but also creating lasting change for GRS participants.

“There is a common tendency to see youth as a problem that needs fixing,” said Chris Barkley, GRS Director of Development and Strategy, “Through this project, our Coaches show us that we should be flipping that on its head – these are young leaders that are transforming their communities.”

Coaches at Barclays trophy event

GRS Coaches pose with members of the panel, including SuperSport's Carol Tshabalala (back row, in blue) and soccer legend Mark Fish (back row center).

The 29 community Coaches in attendance at the event stood alongside the shiny, metallic Premier League Trophy with excitement, an excitement that both Barclays and GRS share about the incredible potential these youth have to be leaders and drivers of societal change in their communities.



About Barclays Spaces for Sports:

Citizenship at Barclays is about three things: how we contribute to growth in the real economy; the way we do business; and supporting our communities through investment programmes and the direct efforts of our employees. Barclays Spaces for Sports is a community-based sports programme, which uses sport as a platform to help young people develop life skills and revitalise disadvantaged communities in a sustainable way. In partnership with the Football Foundation, Barclays has delivered 200 physical sports site used by 53,000 people in disadvantaged areas in the UK. Barclays Spaces for Sports has also invested in 15 innovative sports-for-development programmes around the world. To find out more please visit