Hear what happened when Jermaine Jenas, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Fara Williams returned to the pitch to play alongside some very deserving StreetGames youngsters…
Love Island 3 – 1 England.
Let’s be honest, that’s a football scoreline you never thought you’d see. But it’s exactly what happened when former Love Islander Jack Fowler’s team took on an opposition led by ex-England international, Jermaine Jenas, at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge this week.
Both teams included a host of other famous faces – including more footballing legends, former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and England star Fara Williams – a handful of Coca-Cola employees, plus 55 young footballers from StreetGames’ nationwide network.
Love Island’s Jack Fowler managed to get one over on Jermaine.
The event was held as a celebration of the ten-year partnership between Coca-Cola and StreetGames, a charity that gives young people the opportunity to enjoy sports and activities that they otherwise may have not been able to take part in. To date, that partnership has provided sporting experiences to over 385,000 young people and qualifications to over 30,000 coaches, volunteers and young people across a range of over 30 different courses aimed at producing the next generation of community sports leaders.
This summer, the partnership will see StreetGames feature on a new on-pack promotion that will also see Coca-Cola’s support with two new projects around pitches and coaching.
Speaking from the Stamford Bridge pitchside on this long and successful partnership was StreetGames Deputy CEO Mark Lawrie: “Throughout our 10-year partnership, Coca-Cola has always provided amazing opportunities to the young people we work with. Today people from our projects based across the whole country are here.
“The ‘Where Everyone Plays’ campaign has a very similar mission to us. The fact that a business like Coca-Cola is not just cheering us on, but supporting us with great events like this, is fantastic.”
The event in West London was the latest moment on Coca-Cola’s ‘Where Everyone Plays’ campaign – part of our three-and-a-half-year partnership with the Premier League. The day truly embodied the inclusive message of ‘Where Everyone Plays’, with two full-pitch men’s and women’s games – featuring players of all abilities – taking to the pitch.
Fara Williams is the England Women Team’s highest capped player.
“Playing at Stamford Bridge was a unique opportunity. Really amazing,” said Aramide, a participant turned coach for the Brixton-based St. Matthew’s Project, who was invited to play. “It was nice to see lots of females participating. All the girls bonded really well, no one felt excluded. I feel like today was all about having fun and being confident in yourself. It was a really inclusive event.”
Aramide was joined by fellow St. Matthew’s Project coach, Dwight. Both were invited by Coca-Cola and StreetGames to Stamford Bridge for the contributions they make to their local community week-in, week-out. It was a good job that Dwight’s footballing allegiances didn’t spoil his day: “I’m an Arsenal fan, not a Chelsea fan,” he confessed. “But really, I’m a football fan.
“I was on the winning team,” he said. “I played the first half on the right wing; the second half in goal and I managed to keep a clean sheet. It was great to be with the StreetGames participants from other areas.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink led a training session at the start of the day.
Following the two games, the players were treated to a live Q&A with Jermaine, Jimmy and Fara. As you can imagine, much of the conversation was dominated by their thoughts on the season as it now comes to a close, and, of course, the two European finals still to be played (no points for guessing who Jimmy tipped in the Arsenal vs. Chelsea game).
Following the discussion on top-flight football, and a recap on the day’s games – “I did more running than Jermaine,” claimed Jimmy – one of the players in attendance was keen to hear any advice the three had for young people watching on.
“I grew up in an area where there was a lack of opportunity, but I loved playing football,” said Jermaine. “Through sport, you get to build confidence and develop different skills, like leadership and how to look after other people. The life skills you learn from environments like today, speaking up and asking questions like you just did now, they’re huge steps you’re already taking. You’re showing signs of confidence, that’s something we can all admire and learn from.”
To continue the ten-year celebrations into the summer, Coca-Cola and StreetGames will be launching a campaign to help give more people access to football coaches and pitches. We’ll again be there to bring you all of the action.
Want to hear more about ‘Where Everyone Plays’? Check out our Premier League hub for all the info.