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Sir Trevor Brooking and Jordan Henderson open 1.8m football centre in Sunderland

Wed 4th May 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Sir Trevor Brooking joined Sunderland star, Jordan Henderson to help local people in the Sunderland area celebrate the opening of a new £1.8m football facility.

The Russell Foster Football Centre, which was funded thanks in part to a £988,869 grant from the Football Foundation, will provide a headquarters for the Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League.

In more than 30 years following the leagues inception it has helped nurture close to £100m worth of football talent. Included in its most famous alumni is England’s most expensive ever player, Andy Carroll who cut his teeth at Low Fell Juniors.

As well as the former Newcastle striker Jordan Henderson and Adam Johnson both played for Fulwell Juniors, Stuart Downing served his apprenticeship at Seaham Red Star and Michael Carrick learnt his trade at Chester le Street Boys.

21,000 active members make it the largest youth league anywhere in the country and with the provision of new state-of-the-art facilities numbers are expected to continue to rise.

The Foundations investment has helped to provide 21 grass pitches which will cater for the needs of boys and girls in the 7-10 age group. The new sports pavilion will house 8 changing rooms, office space, a classroom, a kitchen and plant storage. More general works to the existing complex will improve access and drainage. 

Sir Trevor Brooking, The FA’s Director of Football Development, said: “This is a wonderful facility and one that The Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League and the local community should be very proud of. It is great to see money from the Premier League, The FA and Government going into the grassroots through the Football Foundation.

“Since 2000, the Football Foundation has made a huge impact on community sports facility provision right across the country and I am always pleased to support their work.

“It is essential that communities are able to access facilities where they can be safe and enjoy quality coaching. Playing sport can teach people – especially young people – essential life skills such as communication and teamwork. 

“These facilities are for everyone to enjoy, irrespective of the level at which they play.  However, for a talented few, they may well be where the next generation of elite players will initially hone their skills.”

Jordan Henderson, said: “I am extremely proud to be present at the opening of this magnificent centre. I have extremely fond memories of my time in the Russell Foster league and will be forever thankful to people who run it because they helped develop my football career.

“I know that these facilities will be of fantastic benefit to the many clubs who play here and also to wider community. It's really important to keep investing in grassroots football because that is where every footballer starts out. I'm delighted to be able to support the Football Foundation's work.”

Mick Clark, Secretary at the Russell Foster Football Centre said: “I am absolutely delighted to be part of the first purpose-built mini-soccer centre in the country.

“I am sure that the facilities available to young people will go a long way in advancing the development of football in the area and give huge enjoyment to our children. I would like to thank the Football Foundation for all their support and expertise and also Sir Trevor for officially opening our new home.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation said: “We are delighted that The Russell Foster Tyne and Wear Youth League and the local community will have access to these fantastic new facilities and commend the League and the Durham County FA for their hard work in making this happen.

“I would like to place on record my sincerest thanks to Sir Trevor Brooking and Jordan Henderson for taking time out to support this project, their presence at the event will serve as an inspiration to everyone connected with it.”





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