During the February half-term school break, Leyton Orient Trust worked with SOUL FC, a local football club from Tower Hamlets. The club was formed in 2003 to encourage sport participation and to engage with local youths in and around the Brick Lane, Bow area to reduce crime, gangs and anti-social behaviour.
Later in the month, SOUL FC were then invited to play a friendly match against the Leyton Orient shadow squad, a team formed by Leyton Orient Trust (LOT), recruiting players from the community who have the potential/desire to become professional football players. Two SOUL FC players have since been invited to train with the shadow squad in the coming weeks.
On February 18, 10 players from the Tower Hamlets-based club were picked to represent LOT in a seven-a-side football tournament hosted by the Celtic Foundation. The boys made it all the way to the final, unfortunately conceding a goal in the last minute although later that week, SOUL FC’s under-14s attended and were crowned winners of the Premier League Kicks Tournament hosted at SCORE by Leyton Orient Trust.
Due to their success and to round off the partnership work with the club from Tower Hamlets, SOUL FC players had the opportunity to not only attend but to also be flag bearers on night of Leyton Orient’s game against Bristol City on March 3. This occasion was a first for many of the young players and to top it off, they had the chance to show off their skills from the penalty spot during the half -time break.
Managers of the club, Asrar Mohammed & Hussain Ahmed, were really pleased and are looking forward to do this again in the near future. “A huge thank you to Leyton Orient Trust and LOT coach Hafizul Haque for organising this fantastic opportunity and giving the young people an experience they will not forget. We as a club appreciate the involvement we had throughout and look forward to doing something similar again in the future,” said Mohammed.