The World Cup may be a distant memory but a group of Blackpool teenagers have been celebrating their own Brazilian football success.
Blackpool FC Community Trust held an awards evening for the 17 young people enrolled on its Futsal Education Programme to recognise their outstanding achievements over the past year.
The programme is delivered by 48 other clubs up and down the UK but the lads in Blackpool topped the lot, achieving the best results in the country for their first year.
The Futsal programme is delivered as part of Altogether Now – a Legacy for Blackpool, the partnership programme between the NHS in Blackpool (Clinical Commissioning Group and Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust), Blackpool Football Club and Blackpool Council. The aim of Altogether Now is to improve the health, wellbeing and lifestyle of every person in the town.
All of the students were recognised for their academic achievements with four special awards also being presented. These were:
- Player of the year – Clayton Jones
- Players’ player of the year – Ryan Waring-Mitchell
- Student of the year – James Poxon
- Most improved student – Tony Penfold
Learners on the programme, aged 16 – 18 years complete a number of sports related units; including anatomy and physiology; sports nutrition and; training and fitness; working towards completing a BTEC level 3 extended diploma in sport. This runs alongside fitness and training sessions and the honour of representing Blackpool FC in the National Futsal League.
The programme is delivered at Bloomfield Road, which allows the students to feel fully integrated in the club environment while receiving a high level of teaching.
Ashley Hackett, Head of Blackpool FC Community Trust said: “The lads have been fantastic this year. They’ve put in a lot of work and that has been reflected in their results. We are proud of each and every one of them.
“Our Futsal programme is a brilliant pathway for 16 to 18 year olds who want to pursue a career in sport. The programme incorporates a BTEC Diploma and opens up the door to university or future job opportunities which these lads might never have been able to pursue if they hadn’t of done the course. It isn’t just about playing Futsal, they receive a great level of teaching and are all dedicated to learning.”
The Reverend Michael Ward, Vice-Chair of the Community Trust Board of Trustees said: “I have been impressed with the student’s progress over the past year and I’m excited to see how much more they can improve going forward.
“The Community Trust Futsal and Education programme is a great way for pupils to gain qualifications whilst enjoying training and playing like a professional. The course also provides students the chance to compete in trials for regional and national Futsal squads giving them an opportunity that a lot of people would never get.”
To read more about ground-breaking Altogether Now partnership which is benefitting people across Blackpool, please visit www.blackpoolccg.nhs.uk.
Notes to editors:
Futsal is a variation of football developed in South America, which is played on a smaller field and most resembles five-a-side football played regularly in the UK.
Futsal is seen as an essential development tool for young Brazilian players and many of the country’s iconic footballers such as Pele, Zico, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho credit the game for helping them hone their skills.