Cardiff City FC Foundation run a number of programmes using sport to access education, helping to transfer sporting skills - such as discipline and focus - towards education.


Cory Cleaver started his journey with us when he came along to one of our Premier League Kicks sessions in Ely, Cardiff. Before attending Premier League Kicks sessions, Cory’s social life after a day in school involved playing on his Xbox or hanging out with his friends on the streets of Ely.


Admittedly, Cory misbehaved in school and his temper could get the better of him if provoked. During a ‘Kicks’ tournament Cory found himself in a dispute with another participant, which led to an altercation.


After the incident, Cory spent a lot of time discussing the cause and effects of violent incidents with the Cardiff City FC Foundation coaches, through these discussions both Cory and ‘Kicks’ coaches developed a strong friendship. His development and maturity since that incident has been well recognised by our coaches, so much so that Cory was chosen as Cardiff City FC Foundation’s ‘Premier League Kicks Hero’.


The Premier League Kicks Heroes campaign is run by the Premier League, designed to praise the individuals that have impressed whilst taking part in the programme. Cory developed great leadership skills and began volunteering with the Foundation through ‘Kicks’, he would arrange and deliver tournaments with various ‘Kicks’ sites across Cardiff.


Like many teenagers, Cory’s potential was not reflected in his GCSE results. Undecided on his future, Cory was made aware of the Foundation’s education pathway through one of our ‘Kicks’ coaches.


“The Cardiff City brand made me want to join. I’d applied to go to another college to study Sport and I was about to join, but the Cardiff City badge made me change my mind.”


Cory’s ambition to progress with the Foundation’s Education Programme was evident from day one, it was not until Cory’s friends on the course were removed from the programme that Cory came into his own.


“I was on the traineeship for about six weeks, it was a bit of a taster in terms of coming back into education. When I first joined we all misbehaved but when I’m on my own I can be a different person. I was more focussed on what I wanted, compared to a few of my mates who didn’t really care.”


Following his success on the traineeship programme, Cory was accepted onto our education ladder, and swiftly improved. “I passed everything on Level Two, and now I’m in my first year of my Level Three course and everything is going really well. My Mum and Dad are happy and proud of my achievements which is always a positive.”


Cory has advanced through every stage of our education ladder and is now on our Level Three BTEC Sport course, which gives him a number of avenues to go down once he completes his studies.


“I want to become a coach when I finish with the Foundation, I love sport so I think coaching would be exciting and something I’d be passionate about doing every day.”


Our community projects work hand-in-hand with our education programmes to further assist young people to achieve their full potential. Converting individuals to help them shape an academic future is something we strive to achieve, and Cory is well on his way to accomplishing his aspirations.