English Soccer Club Tottenham Hotspur Surprise Israeli, Palestinian Kids at Tel Aviv Training Session
Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane scores their second goal against the Rangers at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Ahead of their match in Haifa over the weekend, four players on the English Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur paid a surprise visit on Friday to Israeli and Palestinian children participating in a soccer program hosted by an Israeli nonprofit.
Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Matt Doherty, and Ryan Sessegnon met with 45 kids taking part in a Tel Aviv training session organized by The Equalizer, which uses sports as a tool for education and social change to bring together children from different backgrounds.
The charity runs weekly soccer training sessions and educational classes “with the aim of giving children a significant framework for personal development and values such as tolerance, mutual respect, preventing violence and eradicating racism, while creating a bridge between different populations in Israeli society,” according to its website.
The children, ages 9-12, had a Friday session hosted by Tottenham Spurs’ Global Football Development coaches, running a series of drills and learning tactics with help from the team’s players and its ambassador, Ledley King.
The children also took pictures with the Spurs’ players and received signed autographs, along with tickets to the club’s Saturday night match against Italy’s A.S. Roma, at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.
“It’s not every day that children in Israel get the opportunity to meet top-class Premier League footballers,” said Liran Gerassi, CEO and founder of The Equalizer. “Such encounters are a huge boost to the children’s motivation, ambition, and self-esteem for years to come and therefore a meaningful contributor to achieving our goals of equal opportunities and bridging social gaps.”
Speaking after the training session, Lloris, the Spurs’ team captain, applauded the charity for doing “a fantastic job in bringing together Israeli and Palestinian children through the power of football.”