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U14 Street Reds tournament

Street Reds battle it out at Aon Training Complex

This weekend saw the first Under 14s’ Street Reds tournament at Manchester United’s Aon Training Complex.

| by Thomas Jones

Street Reds battle it out at Aon Training Complex

The event, attended by Foundation Street Reds projects from across Greater Manchester, gave teams the chance to show off their skills and play competitive games. Foundation coaches are often responsible for the organisation of tournaments, yet it’s the hard work and passion of volunteers that make events a success.

Jack Boland, 18, is a volunteer at the Stretford Street Reds project, which aims to engage young people through football and alternative activities at times when they may otherwise become involved in anti-social behaviour.  He had a big hand in the performance of his team but between refereeing matches, keeping players hydrated and holding team talks, Jack found time to take over the @StreetReds_MU Twitter account.

Jack, who grew up in the Stretford area, was once a part of the Manchester United development squad, yet his opportunity to turn professional didn’t materialise. Jack said, “I’ve got a passion for football and tried to make it semi-pro, but when I realised it wouldn’t happen I took up volunteering as a pathway to get involved in coaching.”

When asked about the Stretford Street Reds Jack had plenty of positives: “It’s a pleasure to work at the Stretford Street Reds session; it’s full of banter, everyone has fun and we all play together. A lot of us are mates and plenty of friendships have formed from the project.

“If you’ve not been to a Street Reds project before you just need to turn up, have fun, and play football.”

Following the tournament, Jack was happy with the way his Stretford team performed: “In the end Stretford won five games and drew two without conceding any goals,” he said. “The team managed to get to the final but unfortunately got beaten on penalties by a good side from Hulme.”

Chief executive of Manchester United Foundation, John Shiels, was in attendance and said, “Over 100 kids played in an evenly fought, high standard of play, in a really positive environment. Every player should be congratulated for the way they’ve conducted themselves.”

Find out more about Street Reds.