Getting Onside with Watford FC

BUDDING footballers from across the district made sure they were Onside when they took part in a tournament after training by Watford FC coaches. Youngsters have been enjoying various training sessions run by the football club s Community, Sports and Educ

BUDDING footballers from across the district made sure they were Onside when they took part in a tournament after training by Watford FC coaches.

Youngsters have been enjoying various training sessions run by the football club's Community, Sports and Education Trust in partnership with St Albans District Council.

The sessions, which are part of the Onside scheme, have been taking place at Wheathampstead, Batford, London Colney, Marshalswick, Sopwell and Oysterfields.

Last month, the coaches selected 120 of the 11 to 16-year-olds to take their skills to a tournament in Watford in which they were divided up into teams representing their different areas. The event acted as a reward for the youngsters who had shown dedication, a willingness to learn and a positive attitude throughout the sessions.


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The winners and runners-up of the tournament were handed their medals in a presentation before all of the participants went to the Vicarage Road stadium to watch Watford FC play against Sheffield Wednesday in a Championship tie.

And one of the youngsters was selected by the coaches to be a ball boy during the game.

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Cllr Sheila Burton, portfolio holder for sport and healthy living and Cllr Anthony Rowlands, portfolio holder for community engagement and support, visited the event.

Cllr Burton said: "It was great to see the excitement of the young people taking part and the enthusiasm of the Watford coaches. We would like to continue working with Watford FC and extend the scheme to other parts of the district."

Cllr Rowlands said: "This is a great scheme. When people complain that there isn't enough for youngsters to do, here's an object lesson in active participation. It stands to reason that when these sorts of opportunities are available the chance of young people being bored and drifting into anti-social behaviour diminishes. All credit to Watford Football Club for the effort they have invested in this scheme."

Sam Mitchell, Onside St Albans project co-ordinator, said: "It was great to see all the young people take part in this tournament with such a positive attitude. They now make a real positive contribution to their community through engaging in positive activities and representing both St Albans and Watford FC in a number of events.

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