Rising Ballers, the Gen Z football brand has partnered up with IRL, a new group messaging and event planning app, to fund free youth training sessions across London throughout January 2022. The initiative aims to promote a better, healthier, and more active lifestyle for those who have been affected by COVID-19. Spearheaded by four acclaimed football coaches across London, the program gives IRL Rising Baller group chat members the chance to train like pros and meet their idols. 

Rising ballers x IRL


Offering more than just the training sessions, Rising Ballers and IRL will offer members daily advice, training tips, motivational quotes, challenges, workouts and more –– all inside the IRL app and group chats. Through this initiative, Rising Ballers and IRL aim to have a positive impact on young ballers’ lives and their mental health. 

“‘The partnership with IRL has allowed us to do great work relating to the foundations of the Rising Ballers brand,” said Jamie Pollitt, Director at Rising Ballers. “Fundamentally, we’re a community that provides opportunity to young football players at any level. Typically, young players would not get access to free sessions with coaches of this level, especially with the impact COVID has had on grassroots. The whole process has been thoroughly rewarding for us and we hope it’s been of benefit to those involved’. 

Rising Ballers x IRL


The four coaches represent the four different areas of London from East, West, North and South and who are known for coaching some of London’s elite players. Coaches include: Oshaye representing North London, also known as Just1shot, who has trained pro ballers like Arsenal’s Omari Hutchinson and Marcelo Flores. For West London, Rising Baller’s own Gaffer Maz aka, Mahrez Bettache, who has also worked with big players like Phil Foden and Oxlade Chamberlain. 

The coaches host weekly sessions during after school hours where players from ages of 16 to 24 play against each other, train and improve their skills together. Training also goes beyond sessions – players can join their sessions and carry on talking to their idols through IRL’s group chat function. Through these group chats and training sessions, IRL and Rising Ballers aim to divert young people from anti-social behaviour and build positive relationships. 


“At IRL, we’re firm believers in doing more together,” says Jason Kirk, Chief Business Officer at IRL. “That’s why it is so important for us to partner with like minded foundations like Rising Ballers who understand the importance of fostering healthy relationships in youth and teens. 

Rising Ballers organise the free sessions, on a first come, first serve basis. Players can participate by downloading the IRL app and joining the Rising Ballers group chat with the most active members in the group receiving a reserved training slot, but need to confirm their attendance with their coaches through the app. 

Rising Ballers x IRL


The initiative has had noticeable success. More than 1,000 people signed up to the Rising Ballers group chat within the first 24 hours of its launch and nearly 100 people have attended the sessions this month alone. Considering the success Rising Ballers have been experiencing in London, they will look to scale this initiative even further and expand across England’s major cities, like Manchester and Liverpool. They will then scout the best players at each session and invite them to RB x IRL tournaments and events. 


About Rising Ballers 

Rising Ballers is a football media brand founded in 2017, which describes itself as “one of the most engaged communities out there” and is headquartered in London. Rising Ballers focuses on reporting football news and culture across multiple platforms, namely Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat. Rising Ballers are also in grassroots football, running 4 teams in the UK which includes Rising Ballers FC, Rising Ballers Women FC, Rising Ballers College’s in Birmingham and London. 

About IRL 

IRL is the leading group messaging social network that brings people together through groups, events, and community engagement. With over 17M active users who send 100M+ messages a day, IRL is the place to discover and connect with communities across all your interests. For more info, go to www.irl.com   

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