But Eastbourne Borough Football Club did its best to fill the void by hosting its biggest annual ‘World Cup Fun Day’ in Priory Lane. Hundreds of youngsters and their families came to the stadium to take part in a soccer tournament to decide who will lift the World Cup trophy.
A total of 170 youth players from the club, dressed in the colors of England, Brazil, Spain or Italy, then competed against each other in a total of 60 games on ten pitches in the sunshine. Girls and boys taking part included three-year-olds from the club’s ‘Sports Stars’ squad through to the Under-11 squads and the Spirit of Football disability team.
Families came to find the stadium full of flags of all colours, food, music, face paint, t-shirts for sale, exciting raffle prizes, players from the men’s and women’s first teams and even a chance to be photographed with the FA Cup, World Cup – and Champions League trophies. Organizer Tim Brown explained: “Every year we like to end our season with a fun event for our youngest teams, so that every one of our players has the opportunity to play in a tournament and get a medal, no matter how good they are. World Cup Day is all about having fun without the pressure of feeling included and being part of our special borough family, which I think we’ve delivered once again. The support from the board and all the club coaches was overwhelming again this year – it was definitely our biggest and best World Cup day so far.”
After witnessing an exciting Coaches Challenge where parents and coaches battled it out for more points on penalties, the youngsters received their medals from several first-team players. And the festival finally drew to a close as winning country Italy were presented with the World Cup trophy by Richard Dyson, manager of the first women’s team, to cap off a memorable morning for all. It was a shame England couldn’t ‘bring it home’ – perhaps Gareth and the lads will do that in Qatar later this year! Fun Day Gallery: sussexworld.co.uk