THE Albion Foundation showcased the breadth and depth of their work last Wednesday as they utilised exclusive access to the pitch at The Hawthorns.
More than 550 participants, from 9am until 9.30pm, had the opportunity to play inside a Premier League stadium while more than 500 teachers, parents and supporters watched on throughout the day.
First up was the Year 3 Festival as part of the Foundation’s Premier League School Sport programme - with over 100 children playing a non-competitive tournament with the aim of inspiring, motivating and providing a great memory for the young players.
Then came the Over-16 Football Development Centre Challenge match between Aston Manor and Brownhills School – two schools which Foundation staff have been working closely alongside throughout the academic year – with the latter coming back from 2-1 down in a dramatic contest to triumph 3-2.
Up next were the PAN disability adult players who enjoyed a festival and penalty shoot-out competitions, followed by a Premier League/FA 14+ Girls Tournament in which 12 schools and 110 girls took part, with ACE Academy eventually coming out on top.
That was followed by Live the Albion Dream, which is now an annual event due to the success of previous years, and saw 97 children coached on the pitch for two hours, enjoy a tour of the dressing rooms and run out of the tunnel pitchside.
Finally, the Foundation had their Live the Kicks Dream Tournament in which all of their Kicks venues throughout Sandwell entered teams at Under-18 and Under-15 level, with more than 150 players taking part.
As darkness fell on The Hawthorns, the winning teams from Goals (Under-15) and The Albion Foundation Sports Hall (Under-18) received their trophies from Inspector Bartram.
Albion Foundation Director Rob Lake said: “It was a brilliant day which encapsulated the high-quality work our superb staff deliver on a daily basis.
“I was extremely proud to see the obvious respect and admiration for our staff from players, teachers and parents.
“I cannot thank my team enough for their efforts and I know more than 500 young people have gone away with a smile on their faces.”