It’s not everyday pupils get to enjoy training sessions at some of England’s biggest clubs but that’s what happened to a group of aspiring footballers at Dubai English Speaking College (DESC).
Thirty-seven boys and girls travelled to England for DESC’s first-ever junior football tour where they enhanced their skills and knowledge over a series of matches in the eight-day trip.
Their itinerary saw them take to the field at Liverpool’s academy at Kirkby before making the short trip across Merseyside for a session at Everton’s Finch Park facility. They then travelled to Bolton Wanderers for another class.
And while those memories will certainly be cherished, so will their stadium tours of Liverpool’s ground – Anfield, Manchester United’s Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium, home of the Premier League winners Manchester City.
On top of that, they also attended the Championship fixture between Sheffield United and Preston North End where the visitors prevailed 1-0 in an entertaining encounter at Brammall Lane.
They then put their knowledge and skills of what they learnt to the test as they competed against local school teams in the north west of England.
Although the rain and wind didn’t do them any favours, DESC put on a number of spirited displays in their three matches. Their Under-13s side, captained by Max Bleakley, won two games out of three with a 2-1 win over Christelton High School and 5-1 triumph against Bury Grammar School.
Their U-14s, led by Yacoub Basweidan, also triumphed in two games beating Christelton 1-0 and Bury Grammar School 6-0. Their girls’ side, skippered by Lauren Hibbert, drew 5-5 against Wilmslow before thrashing Bury Grammar School 7-1.
DESC’s head of football Paul Barratt was impressed with the quality he saw. “The students had a trip of a lifetime over the eight days in the UK, getting a real insight into professional academy systems and understanding pathways which could be viable for our talented footballers,” he said.
“In our DESC football programme, we are very keen to develop a student’s personal characteristics along with their footballing ability; the opportunity to tour overseas is a valuable learning experience and of course, very enjoyable.”
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