Andrew Cole kicks off Unified World Cup with Foundation participants
Manchester United legend and former England striker, Andrew Cole, celebrated the start of the World Cup with participants from Foundation programmes.
Children from Manchester United Foundation partner schools and local special educational needs (SEN) schools were invited to the club’s Aon Training Complex to take part in a World Cup themed tournament, at which they represented different international teams.
The tournament celebrated Unified Football, a Special Olympics GB campaign delivered in partnership with Youth Sport Trust, which joins people with and without learning disabilities on the same team.
Manchester United ambassador Andrew Cole attended to give some advice to the participants, take part in some activities including football darts and foot-pool, and present the medals and trophy to the winning team.
“It’s great to see disabled and non-disabled kids taking part together in their own World Cup,” said Cole. “I’ve just been talking to a couple of boys who were so excited about helping disabled children play football and for me that’s a massive thing; if the younger generation are thinking like that then hopefully we’ll be in good hands.”
Replicating the 2014 World Cup, Germany emerged victorious, but members of the winning team still understood the importance of the event: “It’s very good to have won it, I‘m very proud of my team,” said Lewis, who attends Middleton Technology School. “But it’s also a good opportunity for disabled and non-disabled children, and boys and girls, to interact.”
Manchester United Foundation delivers Unified Football through its Inclusive Reds programme, which is funded by the Premier League and BT Sport and offers equal sport and physical activity opportunities for young people with disabilities.