Academy youngsters involved in commemorative competitionOur Under-12 Academy squad were involved in the Truce Tournament national qualifiers last weekend – a competition which has been held annually since 2011 as part of the Premier League’s ‘Football Remembers’ work.
29 teams took part in the qualifying tournaments across three sites, and the Academy groups which took part were all U12s – this links with the national curriculum for this age group (World War – History) so the educational aspect was equally as prominent as the Games Programme.
The Royals’ squad and nine other clubs took part the Army qualifiers at Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre, while seven teams participated in the Navy qualifiers at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth, and a further 12 featured at RAF Cosford in Wolverhampton.
Each of the sites held a Remembrance Ceremony where young Academy players and Armed Forces staff took part in a poetry reading of In Flanders Field, a two minutes silence and the Last Post, while players from each of the teams read aloud the names of players who represented their clubs and who have been killed in conflict.
The tournament winners in Aldershot were West Ham, who will progress to the finals tournament in Ypres along with Crystal Palace, Man City and Blackburn Rovers. They will compete against Belgian sides Anderlecht and Club Brugge, Germany’s Schalke 04 and French club Paris Saint-Germain next month.
As well as competing against their European counterparts on the pitch, the boys from those four qualifying clubs will also meet them off it and learn to share their backgrounds and cultures as well as the lessons of the sacrifices their forefathers made a century ago in the name of war.