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Virgil van Dijk officially opens Cruyff Court

04 October 2021

Pupils, parents and staff from Pontville Schools welcomed a world renowned football star to officially open their ‘Special Cruyff Courts,’ developed in partnership by Johan Cruyff Foundation.

The Foundation has been creating spaces for young people called Cruyff Courts for almost 25 years.

These spaces enable children and young people to practice a variety of sports in a safe and inclusive environment.

On Thursday 30th September, Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool FC’s star defender and Dutch national team captain, was welcomed by Pontville School where he too took to the court with pupils and answered questions from the school’s team of bloggers.   There was even time for Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp to say hi to everyone, after being ‘FaceTimed’ by Virgil.  

Virgil, who also played on a Cruyff Court himself when he was a child said to the pupils: 

"This Cruyff Court will help you in multiple ways; As a football player and especially as a human being. You’ll have to deal with teamwork, losing, defending, winning. You’ll benefit and enjoy it!"

Virgil official opens court with pupils

Jurgen Klopp saying hi to everyone

The Cruyff Court has been named in honour of Virgil

Pontville School’s Head Teacher, Justine Sims commented: 

'Since we have had the Cruyff Court installed the positive impact it has had on our children has been significant. The court is used throughout the day in lessons as well as activity and enrichment time. Before we had the court when the weather was bad the rain stopped our young people being able to take any sporting activity outside due to the poor condition of the ground. Now come rain or shine our young people have access to play sport at any time. This not only helps our young people’s physical fitness but also helps them to have a healthy mind. We cannot thank the Cruyff Foundation enough – the court will continue to make such a difference to many children and young people for years to come.'

Pupils and staff ask questions to the footballer

Pupils wear t-shirts to play a friendly

Niels Meijer, director of the Cruyff Foundation commented:

“With this Special Cruyff Court, space is created for the children of this school. Space to sport and play. Space to grow. Space to make friends. Space to be active and improve physical and mental health. Nowadays this is more important than ever. We want to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery who support courts like this’.

Phil Jones, CEO of Witherslack Group commented: 

"We have immense pride in working in partnership with the Cruyff Foundation to create amazing spaces for our young people.  The Cruyff court at our Cumberland School is simply world class facility and has made such a positive impact for both pupils and staff.   The difference it has made was particularly illustrated throughout the early stages of the pandemic. When our schools were asked to stay open the courts played a huge part in both ensuring the wellbeing of our school community, as well as offering much needed fun and enjoyment."

Our ambition is to continue our work with the Cruyff Foundation to create even more amazing courts, with developments in the North East, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and the South East already well advanced.  

This is another great example of how pupils across our Group are provided with unique opportunities to inspire them to try new activities and build interests.

A truly amazing day and a big well done to everyone involved!  

Instagram coverage of the day from the Foundation

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