Youth football tournament run by Albion charity

Albion players made an appearance at the Kicks tournament
Albion players made an appearance at the Kicks tournament

More than 300 young people took part in a football tournament organised by the charity arm of Brighton and Hove Albion.

Kicks welcomed youngsters aged seven to 18 to take part in a 44-team tournament at Preston Park on Thursday, July 26.

Kicks - Brighton  - U11s  Cup Winners

Kicks - Brighton - U11s Cup Winners

It brings together youngsters from Premier League Kicks projects across the region (and visiting teams from further afield) to compete in a friendly and inclusive environment.

The tournament was supported by 18 staff from American Express who helped organise the day and referee matches alongside Albion in the Community (AITC) coaches.

Martin Schooley, AITC’s inclusion manager said: “This is the fifth year we’ve brought together youngsters from all of our Kicks projects across Sussex.

"The tournament is all about giving youngsters the chance to play sport in a fun, safe and structured environment and promote the values of respect, teamwork and understanding.

Kicks - Brighton Girls Team

Kicks - Brighton Girls Team

"It’s great to see them interacting so positively with each other and the visiting teams, in an event on this scale.”

The Albion’s first team players, midfielder Pascal Gross and defender Leon Balogun, made a surprise appearance to chat to participants and present the winning cups, plates and runner up-medals across four age groups.

The winning teams were: U11 Cup – Brighton; U11 Plate – Brighton (Whitehawk); U14 Cup – Chelsea; U16 Cup– Hastings,; U19 Cup - AFC Bournemouth.

During the day, mini-workshops were led by Kick It Out, an organisation that works throughout the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and campaign for positive change.

Kicks  - Brighton - U11s Plate Winners

Kicks - Brighton - U11s Plate Winners

The tournament forms part of the wider national Premier League Kicks programme delivered regionally by AITC. Regular Kicks sessions take place at the following locations across Brighton and Hove at: Crew Club, Coolham Drive; Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, Lewes Road; Saunders Park, Lewes Road; Tarner Park, Sussex Street; Brighton Youth Centre, Edward Street; Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre, Moulsecoomb Way; and Manor Gym, Manor Road, Whitehawk.

Parents or youngsters interested in learning more about Kicks sessions in their local area can email: premierleaguekicks@albioninthecommunity.org.uk