Young people representing eight Manchester United Foundation projects were invited to the Aon Training Complex for the final, where they took part in one-on-one drills with the Spaniard followed by a final skill challenge.
The final challenge was eventually won by 16-year-old Prince from the Foundation’s Street Reds project. The young footballer from Stretford successfully scored a series of free kicks in the double goal challenge and was rewarded with a signed shirt, which included a personal message of congratulations from Mata.
The eight-week series saw a weekly football challenge released by Mata on Manchester United Foundation’s YouTube channel, followed by Foundation participants attempting to recreate his skills. The campaign has also helped to raise awareness of the Foundation’s work across Greater Manchester and has been part of an ongoing commitment by Mata, who is renowned for his charitable work.
Mata, who completed each of the challenges over the previous weeks, insisted that the competition has been all about having a smile on your face. “It is very important to have fun while doing these challenges, because it's about enjoying, laughing and trying to win,” he said. “In general it is crucial to have fun in sports and in football, especially at their age. I’ve been very impressed - some of the participants showed real quality and skills and it was a pleasure to share the challenges and welcome them to the Aon Training Complex.”
Foundation chief executive John Shiels explained the benefit of the collaboration to the Foundation: “We’re really pleased that Juan Mata has given his time to this campaign. The Super 8 Challenge helps to bring together participants from across our projects, whilst also giving them a fantastic opportunity to have a kick about with a special Manchester United player. This project will also inspire the 3,500 young people the Foundation works with each week across Greater Manchester.”