Youth footballers score at Wembley

PUBLISHED: 16:27 09 August 2007 | UPDATED: 21:46 29 May 2010

Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC players stand in goal at Wembley having played a round robin tournament

Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC players stand in goal at Wembley having played a round robin tournament

MANY footballers dream of one day playing at Wembley - for Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC under-nines, that dream came true on Monday. The team was invited to take part in the FA/McDonald s National Football Festival held at the new Wembley Stadium after completi

MANY footballers dream of one day playing at Wembley - for Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC under-nines, that dream came true on Monday.

The team was invited to take part in the FA/McDonald's National Football Festival held at the new Wembley Stadium after completing the league and cup double in the Dengie division of local Blackwater & Dengie League at the end of the 06/07 season.

Keith Dicker, Rhodes under 9 manager, said: "Invitations were only extended to one under 9 team in each county, and our boys are delighted to have been selected to represent Essex and our football club at this prestigious event."

Invitations were only considered for teams that excelled in their particular league during the 2006/7 season and whose parent club has attained full FA Charter Standard. Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC is the only FA Chartered Club in the Great Dunmow area.

World Cup winning star Sir Geoff Hurst opened proceedings shortly before the first eight teams kicked off in the traditional 'mini-soccer' format on four separate quadrants of the famed ground.

The competition consisted of a round robin tournament in the morning, interspersed with coaching sessions from a number of premier league youth coaches, including Eric Harrison, ex-Manchester United, who brought the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes onto the world stage.

In the afternoon all 40 teams were given free access to the new English home of football, and each team was scheduled to play a 15 minute friendly against another county on the Wembley turf.

Rhodes was drawn against highly fancied Birmingham's Kingfisher FC, and despite a valiant effort by all nine boys, they were not able to overcome probably the best team on the day.

Kingfisher won the fierce encounter, but not before Dunmow's Matthew Baxter gave them a serious scare, earning the title of 'First Rhodes player to score on the hallowed turf'.

Steve McClaren, England coach, congratulated both teams on a fine performance before the Dunmow boys climbed the steps to the royal box where they were presented with commemorative medals by Sir Trevor Brooking.

The FA provided individual pins for all players registered with Dunmow Rhodes Youth FC to mark the event.

Players representing Dunmow Rhodes FC were: Matthew Orpen, Harry Wilson, Peter Callingham, James Watson, Joshua Dean, Callum Riley, Matthew Baxter, Charlie Dicker and Will Crook.

"All of the boys did their club, district and county proud," said Mr Dicker. "Special thanks must be extended to McDonalds and the FA for organising such an exceptional festival and providing memories, which will last forever.

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