Players from across the country celebrated the success of the biggest-ever Premier League Down’s Syndrome Football Festival at The Albion Foundation in West Bromwich recently.
A total of 148 players took part in the second running of the annual festival, which took place thanks to a £10,250 donation from the Premier League and Football Aid benefitting the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA).
The DSA’s corporate manager, Patricia James, told premierleague.com. “It’s a fantastic day for the youngsters.
“Knowing that the Festival is coming, for the players and the coaches, it is something to work towards. They deserve a festival just as much as anyone else who is playing football.”
At the festival, players received coaching from former Republic of Ireland international and DSA patron, Kevin Kilbane. After leading the players in training drills and handing out medals to the winners, he said: “It was fantastic to see how the players had improved over the year and the programme has grown.”
Kilbane saw the players participate in two groups, 13 plus and 12 and under. The younger group engaged in ‘skills sessions’ including ‘beat the goalie’ and a series of passing, shooting and dribbling games capping their day off with fun match while the older group played a round robin tournament in three six-a-side leagues.
At the end of day, the final leagues were as follows:
1) Cardiff City DS Bluebirds
2) Charlton Upbeats (Red)
3) Ipswich Town Mini Tractors
4) Norwich City DS Canaries
5) QPR Tiger Cubs (Red)
1) Charlton Upbeats (Blue)
2) Fulham Badgers
3) Moorside Rangers (Blue)
4) Newcastle United
5) QPR Tiger Cubs (Blue)
1) Coventry City SBitC
2) DSActive Allstars
3) Hull City Tigers Trust
4) Moorside Rangers (Yellow)
5) Northampton Town FITC
Charlton Upbeats Red took home the title for the red league, with the Fulham Badgers won the blue league and Coventry City SBitC captured the title for the yellow league.
*Charlton Upbeats, QPR Tiger Cubs and Moorside Rangers entered two teams into the tournament portion of the festival.
The DSActive programme aims to get as many children and young people with Down’s syndrome playing football in an environment that is comfortable yet competitive – for more information please visit www.premierleague.com/en-gb/creating-chances