Stoke City left back Erik Pieters visited a primary school in Newcastle-under-Lyme for a presentation as part of the football club’s City 7s project.
He presented children at Silverdale Primary Academy with a new club home shirt, two tickets to watch Saturday’s match against Hull City and a £5 voucher to open a building society account.
The City 7s scheme, which began in 2007, aims to bring more supporting fans to Stoke City Football Club by focusing on young children aged between six and seven.
This is the age that research shows children begin to support a football club.
Defender Pieters, 26, told StaffsLive: “I’m happy to be here.
“I think it’s really important for Stoke to be involved for the fans.
“They support us for every home and away game so it’s a small thing to give something back and these kinds of ways are perfect.”
Despite having to go off due to injury during Saturday’s match against Aston Villa, Pieters said he was looking forward to being involved.
He added: “I did it last season and that’s why I said yes today because I like being able to give something to the children.
“If the club gives you something back you’re always happy to support the team.”
City 7s has brought in 3,000 new members since it was first set up, and aims to bring in a further 1000 every season.
Claire Blundred, co-ordinator for City 7s, said: “We’re always in different schools in the community and we’re always out and about promoting different projects.
“It’s what we do.
“It’s good for the school, good for the community and good for us.”
Pieters was joined at the presentation by Neil Goodwin, managing director of Barratts Manchester, who sponsored the event at Silverdale Primary Academy.
Headteacher Lindi Nejrup said: “It’s a really exciting opportunity for our school and when we were approached we would never say no to such an opportunity.
“It’s generated a lot of excitement.
“The children have just been so excited. To inspire the children about sports has been wonderful.”
Watch StaffsLive’s video report, below:
Additional reporting by Monica Rimmer