| Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sports and Outdoor

The beautiful game

If your kids are football mad, GOAL! Junior might be just the thing for them. We chatted to JC Van Den Berg, Junior Operations Manager at their centre in The Dubai Mall to find out more about what’s on offer

If your kids are football mad, GOAL! Junior might be just the thing for them. We chatted to JC Van Den Berg, Junior Operations Manager at their centre in The Dubai Mall to find out more about what’s on offer.

Please tell us where the idea for GOAL junior came from.
GOAL! Junior started in Kuwait and following on from the success of that, we also launched in KSA and further expanded to Dubai. GOAL! Junior started as a passion of our founder Mr. Ghazi Al Hajeri - the aim was to bring the sport closer to more people, especially kids who, just like him, found it difficult to find a venue to explore and learn more about the game.

How is the concept different to playing football elsewhere or outdoors?
With GOAL! Junior in The Dubai Mall there is no need for children to knock on doors and call friends to organise a football match. Children can simply come alone or with friends and our professionally trained coordinators will divide the children into equal teams of ability and age. On the pitch, a referee will referee back-to-back 12 or 15 minute-matches.

Because of the weather here in Dubai, playing outdoors can be a challenge for children especially during summer. Here at GOAL!, rain or shine, children are able to still play the sport inside our secured and advanced FIFA-certified football pitch.

Do kids ever have to sign up for classes or is it always drop in?
We have a match starting every 15 minutes so the children can just walk-in alone or with a friend anytime and we will allocate them into equal teams depending on their age and level. We also offer coaching clinics, weekly football tournaments and birthday parties.

What ongoing kid’s programmes does GOAL offer?
GOAL! Academy runs almost every day of the week during term time where we train on technical aspects of the sport but keep the emphasis on fun. Each age group has a different program that meets specific age and skill levels and the coaching style is Dutch KNVB and Coerver Coaching inspired. We also run weekly organised football tournaments every Saturday from 4pm to 6pm where kids can register individually or as a team and each week a tournament is organised for a different age group (U12, U14 and U16). We also run holiday camps on weekdays from 10am-3pm (drop off from 9am) during school holidays. Drills range from dribbling, passing, attacking, team work and shooting practices to tournaments, dodge ball, football disco, cone football, freeze football and ice skating. Our philosophy is to ensure the children are enjoying their time, developing their teamwork skills while at the same time learning and staying active during school breaks.

Who are the GOAL staff? What are their qualifications and experience?
All GOAL! staff have been trained by a KNVB II Certified football coach, but most importantly, they all love the game and have played all their lives.

What ages is GOAL suitable for?
It’s been designed with five to 16 year olds in mind and from four years old for our GOAL! Academy.

Is GOAL just for boys or are girls who love football welcome too? Are there girls only matches and teams?
Everyone who loves football is welcome at GOAL! We mostly have boys, but also have girls playing with us. We have two slots in our GOAL! Academy with only girls playing with us.

Can parents stay and watch? Is there anywhere for parents to sit or get a coffee at the centre?
We have very comfortable seating for parents to stay and watch the matches. We also have partnership with coffee shops that deliver coffee to the venue.
Dhs35 for a 12-15 minute match. GOAL! Junior, Dubai Mall. Dubai.mall@goaljunior.com (04 388 2282).

By Time Out Dubai Kids staff
Time Out Dubai,

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