Premier League Kicks Matchday a Success

Premier League Kicks participants from Reds in the Community and Club Doncaster Foundation came together for a football tournament at Oakwell on Saturday.

Both Trusts provided two teams of players for a six-a-side tournament, giving the 10-12-year-olds a chance to represent Barnsley Football Club or Doncaster Rovers on Oakwell’s state-of-the-art facilities.

Throughout the games, all of the players showed the exact principles that the Premier League Kicks programme is founded upon.

Alongside displaying mental and physical resilience, all of the children showed each other respect and played fair for the duration of the tournament.

The two sets of children were then escorted into the stadium to watch Saturday’s 1-1 draw in the South Yorkshire derby, an opportunity that many of the participants may not have had if not for the Kicks programme.

Barnsley’s representatives were chosen from our free Premier League Kicks sessions at the Dorothy Hyman Sports Centre and Dearne Advanced Learning Centre, which run weekly on Monday and Friday respectively.

Sports Development Officer Kieron Campbell enjoyed giving the participants an Oakwell experience to remember and is looking forward to taking some more children from Kicks sessions to the Keepmoat Stadium in 2019.

He said: “It’s great to give these young kids the opportunity, not just to come to a fantastic facility like Oakwell, but also to play against young people that they’ve probably never met before. Just playing the football is brilliant but they’ve been showing respect, they’ve been showing resilience throughout the games as well.

“They’re going to go and watch the first team straight after this which is going to be fantastic for some of these young people who sometimes may not have that opportunity to go and watch a first-team game.  They’ve said that they are going to reciprocate this and we’re actually going to watch the Barnsley-Doncaster reverse fixture at the Keepmoat. That’s great and something for our Kicks participants to look forward to.”

Club Doncaster Foundation Community coach Sean Fearn labelled the day as a ‘great opportunity’ and is looking forward to working closely with Reds in the Community moving forward.

He said: “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to come down, play as Doncaster Rovers or Barnsley Football Club, and get a game against each other. For them to be able to come out and wear the kits – it means a big thing for them. These kids have not met each other before but they’re all getting on with each other. Our kids are from different Kicks venues so we’ve put them all together. They’ve never played together before but they’re all mixing together and enjoying themselves.

“It’s great to work alongside Barnsley. I’ve personally worked for Barnsley before so it’s great to have that relationship still here. As a close rivalry in the league, it’s nice to be able to work together in the Community to get these kids together.”