Rashford Disney Shelbourne FC

Rashford Disney Shelbourne FC

Paulo Coelho once said… ‘when you want something – all the universe conspires to help you achieve it’. And that’s how I feel since I started LifeSkills Trusport.

Hence my headline question: “What do Marcus Rashford, Disney Pixar and Shelbourne FC have in common”.

The answer: all are using football to develop life skills. And all are using football to transcend itself.

In the case of Marcus Rashford, it’s through his recent book “You are A champion”.

Disney Pixar are delivering life skills through their Playmaker programme in partnership with UEFA and local FA’s .

And Shelbourne FC are doing it through their new business administration course.

It’s a transformative approach that can help young sporting people achieve things they never thought possible; not so much in sport; but in life and careers.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford is a famous footballer and a social activist of fine repute.

His ‘End Child Food Poverty’ campaign in 2020 raised £20 million and resulted in the UK government reversing its policy to cut school meals and instead committing £400 million to support vulnerable children.

As a result, he was appointed MBE in the Queens birthday list. Marcus is also an author and his book, ‘How To Become a Champion’, is more about life skills than football skills.  It talks about building confidence, practicing like a champ, growth mindset, continuous learning, daring to dream and navigating adversity

What’s more; his writings are supported in the book by Katie Warriner. Katie is one of the UK’s leading Performance Psychologists in sports and business. Katie is also an advocate for sports as a vehicle towards achievement and runs courses in mental skills training.

Disney Pixar Playmakers
The Disney Playmakers program is a fascinating one. It introduces young girls to football using fun and storytelling while at the same time helping them develop Lifeskills

Disney describe their Playmakers programme as: “A fun and safe introduction to football for 5 to 8 year old girls. Children will be introduced to football using story telling and imaginative play using the magic of Disney. The programme focuses on movement fundamentals, football skills and life skills”.

The programme has been rolled out in 7 other countries already and goes live in Ireland in the next couple of weeks (see end of article for link).

And in a remarkable turn of events the universe is conspiring: *The club I work with has been selected to deliver the Playmaker programme. And I will be manging the delivery.

Shelbourne FC
Shelbourne FC have designed one of the most innovative educational programmes from a League of Ireland club in recent times.

They have launched a new multi-faceted full-time Business Administration course, in partnership with the Dublin & Dun Laoghaire Education & Training Board for early school leavers.

They will provide young people with the opportunity to develop career and life skills through the platform of football, offering them business and employment opportunities.

Modules include: Personal development & Leadership, Volunteerism, Business development, Football and community development and Club finance.

The programme is mapped to national and international qualifications and thus provides not just life skills, but life opportunities as well.

Using sport as a life skills vehicle is a growing movement and I’m happy to be part of it.

The Lifeskills TruSport is an idea I’ve had for many years. And I must admit – it’s very heartening when names like the ones above have similar ideas.

*Ballyoulster United FC, Celbridge, Co Kildare


Big shout out to Derek O Neill, FAI, LOI Community Development Manager – and David O Connor, CEO Shelbourne FC for their efforts and innovation.

And Pearl Slattery (FAI) for her management and communications re Disney Playmakers programme

Disney Pixar Playmakers @ UEFA https://www.uefa.com/playmakers/en/

Shelbourne F.C. https://shelbournefc.ie/


Marcus Rashford book “You Are A Champion – How To Be The Best You Can Be”

Available in all good bookstores. Co-authored with Karl Anka (journalist & Broadcaster) with top-tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner. (https://www.theprimeclinic.co.uk/)