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Albion crowned champions in the Punjab

20 November 2018

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TRAVELLING to the Punjab isn't something that many of the youngsters that attend Albion's Girls Regional Talent Club would have envisaged doing when they signed up to play for the Baggies.

However, a partnership that has been in place for a year and a half between The Albion Foundation and YFC Rurka Kalan has allowed the girls to take part in, and win, the Girls Play Girls Lead Festival 2018.

The annual tournament attracted 15 teams from around the globe, with the aim of the project to promote pathways for girls within sport. One of Albion's girls that went on the trip, Rene German, was amazed by the experience.

"It was outstanding, to be honest," she said.

"Meeting different cultures and seeing how they empowered women and girls through sports was great.

"It felt amazing to represent West Bromwich Albion - the group of girls that I went with were lovely."

Albion are one of the very few football clubs doing this work in the Punjab, with the project allowing people to learn about different cultures and coaching styles by creating opportunities to travel between England and India.

Lauren Affron, the PL Girls Football Coordinator at the Foundation was proud of what the group of girls had achieved at the tournament.

"The trip was really enjoyable," she said.

"It was good that the girls went in and embraced the culture and were able to get so involved.

"The Canadians were the biggest test for our team, physically and mentally - as they had become really good friends with the Canadian girls.

"The girls represented the Club in a really positive light."

For many of the girls it was the first trip away without a parent, proving to develop them a lot off the field, before the pinnacle of the trip came on the field as they lifted the trophy in front of more than 100 people.

Gurdial Singh, the Foundation's Engagement Officer, was delighted that a group of girls got the chance to pull on the Albion shirt in India, with seven girls and two coaches making the trip to represent the Club.

"The sight of a team playing in the West Bromwich Albion kit in the middle of the Punjab is amazing," said Gurdial.

"The picture of that happening - I never thought it would happen or it could happen, but it has.

"You would think that a partnership like this is a one-way thing, but there's a lot that we can learn from the way that YFC Rurka Kalan is run and how they manage to reach the socially deprived in their community."

Albion are one of the very few football clubs doing this work in the Punjab, with the project allowing people to learn about different cultures and coaching styles by creating opportunities to travel between England and India.

The trip managed to break down barriers through the power of football, with mixed team training sessions and exercises that made for an excellent atmosphere between all the clubs on their travels.

It was a trip that none of the girls will forget - and reinforces Albion's positive work in the area.

For more information about YFC Rurka Kalan's relationship with the Foundation, please contact gurdial.singh@albionfoundation.co.uk.


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