Aspiring young footballers from English, Welsh and Scottish coalfield communities came together last weekend to compete in the 13th Coalfields Regeneration Trust Home Internationals tournament.
Twelve football teams, made up of girls and boys aged between 14-16 years from former UK mining communities took part in the tournament on 4 August at the prestigious City Football Academy – which was the training ground of Manchester City’s first team.
England’s Denaby 5ives were set for an easy victory after reaching the grand final without losing a single match, but were pipped to the post in a 1-0 victory for Scotland’s winning team, The Blue Brazil.
But it was Denaby 5ive’s captain, 16 year old Cameron Till, who walked away as ‘Boys Player of the Tournament’ for wowing coaches with his determination, footwork and goal-scoring skills.
Wales also got their time in the limelight, with Tredegar Women and Girls FC narrowly beating Scotland’s Central FC 1-0 in the girl’s final to take home the girl’s trophy.
Central FC’s Olivia Chomczuk was also recognised by the tournament referees for her determination, skill and ability at just 11 years old with the Girls Player of the Tournament award.
Nicky Wilson, Coalfields Regeneration Trust Trustee, said: “It was fantastic to witness some of the country’s finest young football talent playing on one of the country’s most prestigious football grounds.
“The standard of play was incredibly high, and I’m thrilled that each country walked away with a trophy. All of the teams taking part played brilliantly, and the event succeeded in bringing together mining communities from across the UK.”
The annual tournament was funded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and delivered by their award-winning sports programme, Game On, with the aim of bringing together young people from deprived coalfield communities across the UK to raise their aspirations.
Game On uses football as a platform to improve the general health and fitness of young people living in coalfield communities. It also teaches players about teamwork, communication and the opportunities that the sport presents, such as coaching and progressing to a professional level.
Kat Clarke, Development Manager for Game On England, said: “Game On is more than just fitness, it’s about inspiring young people to achieve their absolute best.
“The fact that Dan James, the player that was recently sold by Swansea to Manchester United for £15m, took part in the Wales Football 5ives sessions and the Home Internationals Tournament back in 2014, shows that anything is possible.”
The full results table can be found at https://homeinternationals.torneopal.com/. For more information about Game On and how to take part in regular training sessions contact email@example.com.