Young footballers smash their target to conquer Wembley lockdown feat
PUBLISHED: 16:29 14 May 2020
A youth football team has surpassed expectations to cover over 200 miles while raising money for hospital staff battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Haddenham Rovers Under 12 Girls were meant to be watching the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium this month, which was postponed due to the lockdown.
So instead, they decided to virtually run, walk and cycle 202.8 miles having smashed their initial target of 73.8 miles between Haddenham and the home of English football in four days.
The team, which was formed in September 2017 and now attracts players from the likes of Ely, Witchford and Wilburton, also raised over £300 for the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.
Sarah Roper, manager of Haddenham Rovers U12 Girls, said: “I had a few players who were struggling with the situation, so it was good to bring motivation and get them to work together again.
“This challenge wasn’t about football. It was about bringing the players back together to work as a team, to encourage and help motivate individuals to keep active whilst keeping safe and help their wellbeing during these difficult times while raising money for our fantastic NHS.
“It has all been about the social side and we have such a good team support and I wanted to keep that during these hard times.”
Sarah passed her FA Level 1 course and runs the team alongside four other parents, which was formed after her daughter spoke to friends at school as she looked for a new sport to try.
Sarah’s husband, who manages the club’s under 10 boys team, have also taken on the same lockdown challenge and have so far raised over £200.
The team finished third in their second full season in the Under 12 Blue division of the Cambridgeshire Womens and Girls League before the COVID-19 outbreak, and with progress on the pitch, Sarah hopes to build off it too.
“Our main objectives have always been for the girls to enjoy their football, develop as an individual and team players and for the team to have a strong team spirit,” she said.
“Since lockdown, we have kept in touch with our players and parents and set fun challenges including a keepie-uppie competition and create or learn a new skill.
“Having players from different villages is really important, and to have that social time off the pitch, so that is why we do so many activities outside of football.
“One of my husband’s players said he will run 5km every day and has raised money himself, which is great to hear. It has been great to get feedback from parents that they have got them motivated to do exercise.”
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