Non-profit Ghanaian Football Academy where I’ve been working for the last couple of months competes with best clubs in the world for 4th year running at the Manchester United Premier Cup Finals.
After qualifying as African Regional Premier Cup Champions, The Right to Dream Academy from Ghana placed 6th this week out of 20 finalists in the world’s largest U15 football tournament.
Scoring 7 goals in their four group matches against FC Metz (France 1-1), FC Bahia (Brazil 0-0), Ulsan Hyundai MS (Korea 3-2) and Cosmos Ac. West (USA 3-2) the academy boys were eventually knocked out in a tight match 1-0 by tournament favourites, Chelsea. The game was watched by amongst others Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Young.
Image: Copyright, Daniel Root Photography LLC
Right to Dream’s record at the Premier Cup Finals is impressive: 2008 (5th), 2009 (7th), 2010 (3rd) & 2011 (6th).
The final stages of the global competition kicked off at Manchester United’s Training Facility at Carrington on Tuesday 2nd August under the watchful eyes of Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton who told the boys from the 20 finalist teams at the opening ceremony:
“I am very proud to welcome you on behalf of NIKE and this great club,” he said. “Play great football, respect your opponents and represent your club and country in the right way. Always aim to be number one; no-one can ever ask any more of you than that, including yourself.”
Right to Dream’s coach James Foxon: “We’re delighted to have reached the quarter finals of course and every team is here to win, but for us it’s also about making sure the boys enjoy themselves, because this sort of opportunity to meet and play against other boys from different continents and different cultures doesn’t come around every day!”
Right to Dream founder and CEO Tom Vernon: “If you consider the histories and reputations of the clubs we’ve competed with at the Premier Cup Finals over the last four years: Chelsea, Manchester United, Boca Juniors, PSV, Barcelona, Valencia, Fenerbahce, etc…we can feel very proud of our achievements in just 10 years. Our success so far has been a result of a strong recruitment strategy and the delivery of a balanced programme of professional training, education and personal development.”
He continued: “Our mission is not just to produce world-class young footballers at Right to Dream but to ensure these student athletes are positive role models for their communities and society. Boys’ football is just the start of our plan to build a world-leading institution full of exceptionally talented, driven and hard-working young Ghanaians.”
About Right to Dream, Ghana
Right to Dream is a professional sports, education and leadership academy in Ghana. Led by Tom Vernon, Right to Dream has been working for the past 13 years to create a world class and unique football academy. Right to Dream offers 100% scholarships to talented, underprivileged children to partake in our unique programme that combines football, education, personal development and leadership training.
Working with youth, the academy nurtures talented industrious individuals into role models and offers first class development opportunities to ensure that our graduates are capable of leading positive and sustainable change in the future. At the core of the academy philosophy is the expectation that all graduates go on to help others achieve their dreams and contribute to the development of their country and continent. To date, over 100 boys have received 5 year scholarships to Right to Dream.
The programme focuses on the development of the total student athlete through 3 key areas; Education, Football and Character Development (personal and leadership development).
$2m has been invested in a purpose built facility providing; training pitches, an international school, boarding accommodation and other ancillary support facilities. 32 graduates are currently studying at leading private boarding schools, universities, colleges in the USA and UK. 10 graduates have signed professional contracts world-wide including EPL and MLS. Mohammed Abu signed last year for Manchester City and is currently playing for Norwegian Cup winners Stromsgodset who recently impressed in the Europa cup matches against Athletico Madrid.
Right to Dream has recently recruited a Paralympian squad to promote talented disabled athletes in Ghana and plans to open a girls’ football programme in 2013.
About Manchester United Premier Cup
MUPC is the ultimate youth football tournament for under-15’s. An incredible opportunity for over 8,000 teams from all walks of life to live the dream, feel the passion and measure their extraordinary talents against the best of their peers – to find out whether they have what it takes to become THE footballing stars of the future. Tournament matches are played at Carrington annually with the final at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
Premier Cup was developed by NIKE in 1993 as a grassroots tournament and evolved to become a global celebration of youth football in 2003 when Manchester United added their name to the ultimate competition – and the Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) World Finals were born!
For further information, including pictures of Right to Dream at this year’s tournament:
+233 2005 100 72 / email@example.com/ Righttodream.com
Reports and Photographs: manchesterunitedpremiercup.com
MUPC 2011 FINAL STANDINGS
2nd ORLANDO PIRATES
3rd EC BAHIA
4th CHELSEA FC
6th RIGHT TO DREAM
7th BOCA JUNIORS
8th VALENCIA CF
9th PSV EINDHOVEN
10th UNIVERSIDAD DE CHILE
11th FC METZ
12th MANCHESTER UNITED
13th COSMOS ACADEMY WEST
14th CATANIA CALCIO
15th KYOTO SANGA FC
16th BANGKOK CHRISTIAN C
17th ULSAN HYUNDAI MS
18th HANNOVER 96
19th HUBEI FA
20th ONEHUNGA SPORTS
Season Teams Venue Winners
Manchester United Premier Cup World Champions
2010-11 8,000+ Manchester, England Pachuca
2009-10 9,470 Manchester, England Barcelona x 3
2008-09 9,470 Manchester, England Sao Paulo, Brazil x 2
2007-08 9,470 Manchester, England Fluminense, Brazil x 1
2006-07 9,061 Manchester, England FC Barcelona, Spain
2005-06 9,000 Manchester, England Chivas Guadalajara, Mexico
2004-05 8,010 Hong Kong, China Fluminense, Brazil
2003-04 7,961 Manchester, England Manchester City, England
2002-03 7,000 Portland, USA Corinthians, Brazil
Nike Premier Cup World Champions
2001-02 6,700 Lisbon, Portugal São Paulo, Brazil
2000-01 6,195 Berlin, Germany Vitoria, Brazil
1999-00 6,000 Amsterdam, Holland Sport Club Internaçional, Brazil
1998-99 5,795 Barcelona, Spain FC Barcelona, Spain
1997-98 3,224 Paris, France Athletic Bilbão, Spain
1996-97 2,624 Cape Town, S. Africa Platense,ArgentinA