Chelsea Foundation and San Francisco 49ers join forces

The Chelsea Foundation joined forces with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers this week, to launch a unique educational programme for young people.

The first event of the partnership, which sees the Chelsea Foundation’s education department and their counterparts from California, 49ers EDU work together to bring science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to local children, took place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and Thursday.

Teachers from 49ers EDU travelled to Stamford Bridge to develop and execute the free two-day programme aimed at inspiring children aged 9-10 to explore the concepts of STEM, as it relates to the game of American football.

Across the two days, more than 100 children from London learned about the evolution of football equipment and the similarities to what is used in American football, as well as the physics involved in sport and a general introduction to the NFL and American football as a whole.

Among those in attendance to witness events unfold was Chelsea Chairman, Bruce Buck, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, Lewis Lukens.

Chelsea Chairman, Buck said: ‘This is a very interesting experience for the children and the Foundation.

‘Every day of the week we are working with young people and adults but I think it is very interesting for us to see how another team and sport handles their education activities, so we can learn from them and continue to improve what we are doing.’

Lukens added: ‘It is great what they are doing here. They are using sport, American or English football, to show the kids how it impacts on their daily lives and how science, technology, engineering and maths is used within sport.

‘Sport allows you to reach out to young people in a way you can’t always do through education alone, so it is fantastic to see both organisations reaching out and supporting their communities.’

Activities at the event included learning about the engineering of an American football, comparing old football boots to their modern equivalents and the coding and programming of an electronic ball.

The final session of each day took on a more practical feel, as representatives of NFL UK took the youngsters through some American football specific drills.

Next month, the 49ers and the Blues plan to bring a similar STEM-focused programme to San Francisco as part of our partnership.

The goal in so doing is to extend the impact of the partnership and bring additional learning opportunities to the students, teachers and administrators in the regions in which both clubs play.

Chelsea Foundation head of education, Matt Mead said: ‘It has been a fantastic event in London as we bring STEM learning and combine it with American football and our own game, for the benefit of the children.

‘To be able to bring the two teams together and share knowledge and expertise has been a great experience and this is hopefully the start of an exciting partnership. 

‘We hope the children go home inspired by what they have learned here. STEM is a critical subject and by 2020, it is believed that 80 per cent of jobs will require some form of STEM related skills.

‘Unfortunately schools can’t always focus on STEM teaching so we aim to work with and compliment the schools, by allowing the children to learn about science, technology, engineering and maths through sport, whether that be designing a football or coding for a club’s website.’

49ers EDU education director, Jesse Lovejoy, added: ‘The 49ers and Chelsea have come together to work with children and engage with them on STEM education.

‘We have been working on this for some time on how to combine the sports and it is great to see the event come together so well. 

‘This is the first day of the partnership and we hope to have many more days like this together in the future.’