England players spent the afternoon with kids in Netanya promoting football for all
England Under-21s players put the disappointment of Euro 2013 elimination behind them on Sunday afternoon when they helped bring smiles to the faces of local kids at their Netanya training base.
Goalkeepers Jason Steele and Declan Rudd, as well as forwards Nathan Delfouneso and Marvin Sordell, joined FA Chairman David Bernstein at a football festival to promote inclusivity in the game and the theme of ‘football for all’.
Also present were players and staff from the Israel Under-21s team, including manager Guy Luzon, who England face in their final game at the European Championship in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
In 2003, The FA partnered with the Israel FA (IFA) to assist in the launch of a Kick Racism Out (KRO) campaign for Israeli football.
Ten years on this project is growing and this year The FA has helped celebrate the landmark anniversary by linking up with the New Israel Fund. The not-for-profit equality organisation manages the campaign in conjunction with the IFA
Seven different community initiatives were represented at the festival with children from a wide-range of backgrounds given the chance to have a kick-about with the Three Lions stars.
Opening the event, Bernstein said: "We're here because of football, and it's disappointing that both England and Israel suffered defeats last night.
"We were hoping tfor a more significant match when we meet each other in Jerusalem. But what we're seeing today is for the long-term, and we know football is a power for good."
Norwich City keeper Rudd was keen to get involved in the session and was impressed with some of the young football talent on show.
"To come to an event like this in Israel has been a good experience," he said.
"After the disappointment of the game last night it's great to see the kids enjoying themselves and it brings you down to earth."
When asked if he'll go back to Carrow Road with a scouting report after seeing the children in action, Rudd joked: "I've just see one lad who looks pretty decent, so you never know!"
Last month, the seven leaders of each project visited London to meet England's 'Kick It Out', and other anti-racism campaigners, as well as watching The FA Cup Final.
"We were impressed when all seven leaders came to England in May to talk about the work that's being done, and it's fabulous to see it in practice today," added Bernstein.
"I congratulate the Israeli Football Association and the New Israeli Fund for everything they are doing."
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