Aberdeen youths beat the biggest names in triumphant trip to Leicester

Young representatives of Streetsport in Aberdeen defeated English giants Arsenal and Liverpool while competing in the 2019 UK Cruyff Court Finals over the weekend.

Two under-13 teams, one boys and one girls, embarked on their journey from RGU down to host city Leicester on Friday morning.

Staying at impressive student accommodation in the outskirts of the city with coaches, parents and two Streetsport volunteers, the teams then took on the might of Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal, Leicester and fellow Scots Hamilton.

The annual tournament is open to cities who are fortunate enough to have a Cruyff Court and aims to bring together these communities for a friendly yet competitive contest.

Aberdeen boast Scotland’s first Cruyff Court, named after Denis Law and situated in the city centre off George Street, and also have a second planned to be built in Tullos.

Saturday began with Aberdeen Girls’ beating Liverpool Girls’ 3-0 who then went on to own Merseyside after a 7-1 win over their Evertonian counterparts.

A 4-0 victory over Arsenal and a draw with Leicester saw Aberdeen Girls’ reach their final, a tremendous achievement, before succumbing to the strength of Hamilton who took the Girls’ title to Scotland.

The Aberdeen Boys’ started in equally impressive form, putting five past Arsenal with no return. They followed this up with a tense 2-1 victory over Spurs, 3-2 over hosts Leicester and a great 3-0 beating of Hamilton.

Unlike the Girls’ though, it was Liverpool and Everton who unravelled the Boy’s campaign while Spurs became the eventual champions.

The Streetsport contingent then enjoyed a tour of the King Power Stadium, home to 2015/16 English Premier League champions Leicester City, before returning north on Sunday morning.

Paul, one of the Streetsport volunteers who was part of the traveling party, said: “The whole weekend overall was a brilliant success.

“As a volunteer, this was my very first trip with Streetsport getting to see first-hand the extraordinary work the charity does encouraging kids to participate in sports and work together as part of a team.

“It was an excellent opportunity for the kids to compete but also for them to build new relationships and improve on their confidence.

“It was an honour for me to see their confidence flourish over the weekend and for the kids to see what a great job Streetsport, the Denis Law Legacy Trust and the Cruyff Foundation do as a whole.”

Craig Birnie, coach of the boys team who travelled south, said: “All of the boys’ had a fantastic time away in Leicester and created some memories which I’m sure they will treasure.

“Obviously it would’ve been nice to come away with some silverware but each and every one of our boys can hold their heads up high after putting in some great performances.

“The whole experience from travelling down to touring the Leicester City stadium to playing in the tournament was brilliant and has created an even stronger bond between the lads.

“It was a very well organised tournament with some great people involved. We would also like to once again congratulate the girls’ team on taking home a trophy”.

Some images from the weekend can be viewed below and enlarged with a click. Thanks to all who helped both organise and participate in the weekend and congratulations to all involved- you did Aberdeen, Streetsport and yourselves proud.

Updated on 22/07/19 with additional quotes and featured in the Press & Journal on 20/07/19.