One of the Premier League’s cleverest footballers and an exciting England prospect, Duncan Watmore, has become an Ambassador for the Football Foundation.
Watmore has had a busy 2015; earning his first cap and scoring his first goal for the England Under-21 team and breaking into the Sunderland first-team, scoring two Premier League goals in his first few games – including a belter against Stoke City!
As well as his footballing achievements, Duncan has this year graduated from Newcastle University with a first-class honours degree, meaning he is only the second player in Premier League history to achieve such a feat! – Can you guess the other? Yes that’s right it was former Leeds United and Bradford City defender David Wetherall!
As well as being one of England’s bright prospects, Watmore has committed to helping the Football Foundation improve English football at the grassroots level. The Foundation uses money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England to build amazing new pitches and changing rooms so we don’t have to have games called off and get changed in a cold, damp and dark shipping container.
The Football Foundation has worked to deliver over £1.3 billion into grassroots sports, meaning there’s over 550 new quality floodlit artificial grass pitches (AGPs) where a load of sports can be played for hours and hours, even if it tips it down! Facilities like this could mean more future England players can be produced; Duncan Watmore said ‘‘If we want to encourage the creation of more home-grown sportspeople, we need to develop the basic platform of proper public sports facilities as the starting point.’’
Watmore joins the likes of Valencia Manager Gary Neville, ex-Manchester United striker Dion Dublin and his England Under-21 Manager Gareth Southgate in becoming an Ambassador for the UK’s largest sports charity. The support of the young English striker will help the Foundation continue to try and get our nation’s pitches and changing rooms up to scratch; Germany alone has over 5,000 AGPs and look how well their national team is doing!
Liverpool stars unveil stunning new sports complex
The Football Foundation is working hard to catch up with the likes of Germany, recently opening a fantastic new pitch around the corner from Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium. The Anfield Sports and Community Centre has a brand new state-of-the-art third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) for the local area to make full use of.
The new pitch was opened by Liverpool’s midfielder Lucas Leiva and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan who watched a match played by one of the Liverpool FC Foundation College teams! A huge £529,000 from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund made the project possible. LFC Foundation will use the pitch for games, sessions and activities throughout the local community.
New pitches like this are built in places where the Football Foundation know that loads of people from the area will be able to come and play all kinds of sports, purely for the love of it. Having more top drawer facilities like the Anfield pitch means there is a better chance that the next Steven Gerrard could be produced – it’s a lot easier to play when you can get changed in a nice warm changing room and when the pitch isn’t a swamp!