SSA National Cup 2023 Winners

The Street Soccer Academy National Cup

Almost 100 young people who had successfully completed our Academy programme travelled to St George’s Park last week to compete in the 2023 Street Soccer Academy National Cup, sponsored by FM Conway.

A Glorious Victory: West Ham United Foundation Emerges as Champions

All Teams

West Ham United Foundation were crowned champions for the second year running, after winning a hotly-contested final against Salford City’s Foundation 92 on penalties.

The Contending Teams: Football Club Foundations Represented

Eight teams representing professional football club foundations where players had participated in one of our Academies travelled from across the country to the Home of England Football in Burton-on-Trent for the event, with the line-up also including Palace For Life Foundation, Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Sunderland’s Foundation of Light, Chelsea FC Foundation, AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust and the Sheffield United Community Foundation.

Pre-Tournament Interactions: Sharing Experiences and Meeting Heroes
St George's Park Venue
Our venue - St George's Park

Before the tournament began, the teams gathered in the Sir Bobby Robson Ballroom to give presentations on their experiences of taking part in the programme, where they also got to meet other participants and have an exclusive opportunity to ask questions to Fulham FC Club Captain Tim Ream, who joined the session live via videolink.

The Academy Programme: A Lifeline for the Homeless and At-Risk Youth

Our flagship Academy programme is for 18 to 30-year olds who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and covers a mixture of football coaching, positive mindset training, mentoring support and skills and employability workshops. Read more about the programme HERE.

Personal Stories: Impact of the Programme on Participants

Among those who spoke about what they had gained from the course was Lisa Roscelli, who captained the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation team and now aspires to be a sports coach.

Lisa Roscelli

The first two weeks, I was like "I’m not really interested, but I’m going to keep going, I’m not going to give up" and I didn’t know I would actually be here where I am now, in the England training ground.

Street Soccer has changed my life, I really enjoyed the indoor work and the outdoors and, without my team, I don’t know what I would do. I feel more confident and that I have more friends.

Ahmed Abdi, of Foundation 92, said the Academy had introduced him to team mates who he now considers to be family:

Ahmed Abdi

I enjoyed it because I wanted my mind to open and I want to learn more about football because I’m trying to be a good player - I like football so much.

I learnt many exercises - warm up, running, chilling with my family - we are family now, so every week we are chilling and learning together.

The Tournament Begins: Matches and Triumphs

After lunch, the players went outside to the David Beckham Pitch to begin the five-a-side tournament.

After the group stages, semi-finals took place in which West Ham United Foundation beat Palace For Life Foundation on penalties and Foundation 92 beat Chelsea FC Foundation 2-1 to secure spots in the final.

The Climactic Final: Victory for West Ham United Foundation

Foundation 92 took the lead in the final through Belain Mahmood but West Ham’s Tyler Shillingford got a goal back and, with the scoreline level at 1-1 at the end of normal time, a penalty shootout ensued.

And it was West Ham Utd who held their nerve to emerge victorious and take the trophy back to London for the second year in a row.

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Fun in the Skills Zone: Crossbar and Keepy Uppy Challenges

During the afternoon, players also had the chance to take part in competitive challenges in our skills zone, with Rhys Homer of AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust winning the Crossbar Challenge and Keepy Uppy Challenge trophies.

The Unique Opportunity: Experiencing the Home of English Football

Ian Cox, AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust coach, said:

Ian Cox - Former Bournemouth AFC Captain

Today is the final culmination of what they’ve achieved so far.

For them to be coming here to St George’s Park where the England teams train is massive.

They wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to experience such a fantastic arena - to come and pit their wits against other teams here and showcase their skills.

It’s them coming together as a team and giving their all for what’s been a fantastic course over the last ten weeks.

Empowering Young People: Street Soccer Foundation's Mission

Keith Mabbutt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Street Soccer Foundation, said:

It's been a real pleasure to see so many Academy participants all mixing with each other, supporting and encouraging those around them and not just their own teammates.

Each and every one of the young people here today has shown great commitment to learning and developing themselves and from the feedback I’ve already had from many, it's obviously been a day they’ll always fondly remember.

One which I hope serves as a platform to inspire them in days, weeks, months and years to come.

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