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Local youngsters take to the Old Trafford turf for Foundation pitch day

Manchester United Foundation hosted its second annual pitch day at the Theatre of Dreams today, as young people from Foundation partner schools and projects stepped onto the hallowed turf to take part in a series of competitive fixtures.

| by Thomas Jones

A highlight of the event involved Manchester United’s Under 17s girls’ team who competed against a Street Reds development team made up of talented young footballers from community projects across Greater Manchester.

Goalkeeper Alex, 16, expressed his delight at fulfilling his dream of playing at the iconic stadium: “It was absolutely amazing, just the fact we got to play at Old Trafford, these are our dreams and it was awesome. It was an intense game and great competition knowing that the girls play at the highest level; it was just very good to experience.”

Team mate Ratil, who plays for the Street Reds development team, added, “I didn’t think I’d ever play on this pitch, I didn’t think it would ever happen, but today I had that opportunity so I guess I did well. Normally my dad doesn’t come to watch me play football but today he took the time off work and came to watch me, which I appreciated a lot.”

Young people from the Foundation’s Volunteer Ninety Nine Programme were selected to officiate the games and impressed with their quick thinking and decision making.

Noor, 17, who volunteers at the Whalley Range project, commented, “It was a great experience today, so surreal. It’s a beautiful stadium and there were some exceptional performances; I’d love to be selected to take part again.”

Manchester United Foundation community cohesion coordinator, Thomas Oldbury, was pleased with the opportunity his participants had been given. He said “For these young people to get the opportunity to play at Old Trafford is the stuff of dreams. It was a fantastic feeling for us as coaches to see the delight on their faces and every single player made the most of their time on the pitch.”