Image credit: Russ / Kaphox
Retailer GAME and publisher Microsoft have backed the 2023 Football For Good Day, with activities at West Ham’s London Stadium.
The ‘global celebration of youth and unified action throughout the Commonwealth’ took place on Sunday November 19th 2023, and showcased football-led activations delivered by the Street Soccer Foundation.
Young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness went head-to-head in an EA Sports FC 24 gaming competition at the London Stadium, as part of a tournament celebrating International Football For Good Day.
The FC 24 tournament was won by Danny Neal from Leicester City in the Community in a 5-4 victory over Jack Matthews of Everton in the Community.
Microsoft and GAME were on board as supporting partners of the initiative celebrating football’s ability to change lives for the better.
A gaming arena was set up inside the London Stadium in Stratford, where players competed in an EA Sports FC 24 tournament, as well as vying for the Football For Good Day Trophy on the pitch, won by the Chelsea Foundation team.
Among the 18- to 30-year-olds taking part were young people currently experiencing homelessness, former young offenders and those who are not in education, employment or training.
They were representing the 11 football club community trusts where they are participants in Street Soccer Foundation Academies – a 10-week personal development course centred around football, which includes positive mindset training, mentoring support, football coaching and skills and employability workshops.
Keith Mabbutt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Street Soccer Foundation, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have the support of GAME and Microsoft for our showcase event – the inaugural International Football For Good Day at the London Stadium.
“It’s an incredible opportunity they are providing for our young people to take part in an exclusive EA Sports FC tournament in support of the Commonwealth Year of Youth.”
Nick Arran, Managing Director for GAME, added: “Football is at the heart of the community and GAME is honoured to be supporting the Street Soccer Foundation through this tremendously worthy cause, which helps so many young people improve their lives through the power of sport.
“Community means a great deal to us here at GAME and EA Sports FC 24 brings the spirit and intensity of the beautiful game to life with stunning realism, which we are certain will make for a thrilling tournament.”
More info on Football For Good Day
The event marked International Football For Good Day, where communities in the 56 Commonwealth member countries were invited to organise football-related activities where they live.
“This collaboration celebrates football’s ability to transform communities through youth development, education, peace and unity and is the culmination of the Football For Good initiative, launched last month as a partnership between the Street Soccer Foundation, the Commonwealth and Catalyst in Communities,” a press release stated.
Football For Good forms part of the Commonwealth’s ‘Year of Youth’ project, which is marking 50 years of the Commonwealth Youth Programme and aims to see Commonwealth Heads of Government committing to collaborative action on youth-related issues, including climate change, access to education and employment.
The event at the London Stadium connected up with similar football events going on across the Commonwealth, through livestreaming and social media, to form a global celebration, which also involved a ‘sleep-out’ in the stadium to raise awareness of homelessness.
The players that took part in the Football For Good tournament were from Street Soccer Foundation Academies at 11 clubs across the country, including West Ham United Foundation, Chelsea FC Foundation, Sheffield United Community Foundation, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Wycombe Wanderers Foundation, Hull City’s Tigers Trust, Everton in the Community, Sunderland FC’s Foundation of Light, Leicester City in the Community, Liverpool’s LFC Foundation and Salford City’s Foundation 92.
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.