Leyton Orient’s Kevin Lisbie looks to give something back

Orient striker Kevin Lisbie celebrates one of his goals (pic: Simon O'Connor)

Orient striker Kevin Lisbie celebrates one of his goals (pic: Simon O'Connor) - Credit: Archant

Orient striker sets up foundation

As many footballers come towards the end of their career, some struggle to find something to fill that void.

Leyton Orient’s Kevin Lisbie knows he is approaching the time to hang up those shooting boots and while many turn their hand to the likes of punditry, the Hackney-born striker is determined to make a difference to the youth of today.

The 34-year-old has set up the “Lisbie Soccer Foundation” which targets disadvantaged youngsters in London and aims to get them back into employment with the help of football and education.

“I had been sitting down at home with my brother, who is a school teacher, and my uncle, who is a social worker, a little while ago and we are all keen to give something back to the local community,” said Lisbie.

“We all felt there is something which could be done with kids and working with them in both sport and education.

“It’s not just sport, it would be education as well, and it is not just about getting some kids into football, it’s about getting them into jobs that aren’t necessarily in football.

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“I’m coming to a point in my career where you have to start thinking about what else you want to do and I felt it was right to give something back.”

Like many youngsters across the world, Lisbie always dreamed of making it as a professional football.

After being spotted by Charlton as a youngster, he went on to enjoy 12 successful years at The Valley before taking in the likes of Colchester, Ipswich and now Leyton Orient, where he signed an 18-month contract in February.

For all that Lisbie has experienced over his 19 years in the sport, he is eternally grateful, and he feels the time is right for him to help change youngsters’ lives.

“I come from Hackney and I was fortunate enough to get spotted in a park at a young age by Charlton,” he added.

“Others are not so fortunate, it is about giving kids a chance and for me it is all about giving a little bit back.

“As footballers we have all got duties and a lot of kids look up to us when we are on and off the pitch, we need to set the right examples.

“We are a fortunate few who get to play football as a job and sometimes I think footballers can forget that.”

The plans for the foundation are in its infancy, but they include setting up training facilities, while also helping disadvantaged youngsters off the pitch get into community work and college.

“A lot of kids have hopes and dreams and cannot always fulfil them because the parents cannot afford to get them into college,” said Lisbie. “We’ve seen a plot of land and we can hopefully get that with the use of the facility being for the charity work.

“The aim is for us to be there to help them. The plans are exciting and I hope we can make it a success. With the help of my brother and my uncle, plus a few other coaches we hope we can make a difference.”

To help raise funds for those facilities the foundation has organised a black-tie celebrity gala which will be attended by Lisbie, his Orient team-mates and celebrity guests on June 28 at Brisbane Road

Lisbie added: “We’ve been working on the fundraiser now for a little while and at the moment things are going well. We have four or five tables full and the aim is to fill 10 in the Olympic Suite at the ground.

“The aim is to get people in there and show them what the foundation is all about and hopefully it’ll be the start of a long-running and successful campaign.”

Alongside the famous guests there will also be live music, an auction, comedians, a champagne reception and gourmet dinner.

Tickets are £500 for a table of eight or £80 per individual ticket and to book, text your full name and number of guests to 07903 289319.

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