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Football calls a Truce

11 November 2013

Royals U12s at special tournament

On Sunday 10th November, the Royals paid their respects to the fallen in an under-12s Truce Tournament at St George's Park.

At the Christmas Truce National Finals in Burton upon trent, inspired by the remarkable story of the Christmas Day Truce in no man's land, those who lost their lives were rightly remembered. Ahead of the competition, club historian David Downs spoke to some of our young stars about trench warfare back in World War I, giving them some context to the matches they were about to play.

On Sunday at 11am, the special tournament stopped for the teams to attend a ceremony to honour those who lost their lives in conflict. As well as having the poem "In Flanders Field" read out and The Last Post played, one player from each team read out the names of those from the club who died as a result of the First World War, while another will lay a wreath.

Our under-12 player Dejan Tetek laid our wreath at St George's Park, while Anton Miller read aloud the names of our fallen victims.

This was after the first day of matches, where the teams also took part in an educational session featuring "Our Friends the Enemy", a solo show which captures the story of the Christmas Truce, when troops from those countries in the trenches stopped fighting, went into no man's land and exchanged gifts, sang carols and played impromptu matches of football on 25 December, 1914. The show has been adapted for schools since it made a successful debut at the Edinburgh Festival.

Martyn Heather, the Premier League Head of Education, said. "The extra emphasis that we are putting on the educational aspect of the tournament, with the research and the show, is a demonstration of the Premier League's commitment to providing these children, as with all the young players at our academies, the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals, not just good players."

Our youngsters were one of only six Category One sides to have reached the Premier League competition, which was played in a round robin format on smaller pitches with 9vs9 teams.

Over the weekend, Reading's under-12s put in a number of spirited performances, beating Stoke City in the first game and also drawing with eventual tournament winners, Arsenal - plenty to be proud of for coach Chris Sweetman and Academy Development Manager Lee Herron.

And when the Royals equalised against the Gunners, several of our players celebrated by revealing their shirts with Poppies on the front, and the names of former Reading players who fought in the World Wars on the back.

Lest we forget.

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