Cornwall FC Runners up in Football Tournament

Cornwall FC are runners up in Plymouth Hope FC 16+ football tournament

Early on Saturday 18th of June, ten young people from across the world who are currently claiming asylum in the UK and living in Cornwall got up alongside two workers from Carefree, Duncan Williams and Olivia Byass to travel to Plymouth and take part in the annual Plymouth Hope FC tournament. The group had first met just a month before and had therefore since only squeezed in three training sessions. However, we went with the aim to have fun, experience a competitive game and participate in an event celebrating the resilience, creativity and community of refugees living both in Devon and Cornwall.

Our team name was Cornwall FC and we had been placed in the 16+ tournament which upon arrival we realised included some very skilled and much older teams. However, we kept our heads held high and confidently started our first fixtures helped by the enthusiastic support of Waleed Abdallah, and social workers Charlotte Trevelyan, Sara Leudar and Aimee Thompson. The team even got cheer-leaded by a group participating in the children’s tournament who were also donning blue as their team colour. After a few initial losses the team began to warm up with our defenders making sure not to leave the goal exposed and our strikers skilfully outmanoeuvring the other teams defense and consistently passing to one another. Before we knew it the team had qualified to the semi-finals, winning their three out of five of their fixtures. By this time the team had had a couple of injuries but banded together to support those that were struggling.

In the semi-final we had one of our tensest matches yet. Following a tight match, it eventually got to penalties. Our team scored all of their penalties winning the game and leaving everyone, both players and supporters, shouting and jumping for joy. We had made it through to the final! Duncan, who may or may not have shed a few emotional tears, got the team together to prepare for the final game and congratulated them on how far they had come. In the mean time a large group of supporters of Cornwall FC from the Sudanese community in Plymouth gathered round the pitch.

The final match was tight and in the end was lost to the Plymouth Hope FC team one-all. Cornwall FC made sure to sincerely shake the hands of the winning team and mask any disappointment. However, despite this loss the day was a massive win, binding the whole group together, representing young asylum seekers living in Cornwall and enjoying the incredible event and games run by the community in Plymouth. We couldn’t believe we got as far as we did considering how little training the team had done but this was down to the serious skills of the Cornwall FC players, their amazing team work and support for one another and the leadership of Duncan as their coach. Plymouth Hope FC tournament will see us again next year after a year of training and team building, then we will see who claims the trophy. As one young person reassured the others ‘we will train and we will come back’.

Quotes from participants:

Charlotte Trevena – Social Worker

“The Hope football tournament was such an amazing event – and our wonderful UASC/young people did themselves and Cornwall proud. It was such a pleasure to see their amazing teamwork and sportsmanship, and to get through to the final after only 3 training sessions together speaks volumes about the hard work, skills and talent within the group. I think it’s safe to say all of our hearts were full of pride! I really hope that this will be an annual event that we are involved in. The diversity, support, passion, networking and fun we experienced was brilliant and something I feel is important to be a part of again.”