Exciting start for new partnership with Youth Futures International
Millwall welcomed a special group of young Americans to the Club last week who were participating in the Youth Futures International 'Service Through Sportsmanship 2016' programme.
Based in Boston, USA, the programme brings together 15-18 year olds from across America and then arranges an overseas trip to combine their passion for playing football, whilst maximising their potential through sportsmanship and leadership.
The group were extremely busy during their two-week stay in London and kicked off their visit with a trip to Queens Park Rangers FC in their first week.
The second week, however, was spent in SE16 at Millwall where the group received a warm welcome at The Den where they were given a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium by regular tour guide and Millwall blue bus driver John West.
Lunch was followed by the group volunteering at the Millwall Community Trust's official Summer Soccer School at the Lions Centre, where they continued to help out and gain valuable experience throughout the week.
In addition to volunteering and delivering their own football coaching drills, which they themselves devised and put into practice, the group were also treated to dinner in the Executive Lounge at The Den, taken on a tour of London on the club's iconic blue Routemaster bus and even joined in the club’s photo call day!
Here, they watched Millwall's first team train in the morning before having their own group photo with the first team squad during the official photo-call and then had an opportunity to put their questions to physiotherapist Bobby Bacic and Lions captain Tony Craig.
Throughout their week as guests of Millwall, the group enjoyed delicious lunches and evening meals at the Lions Centre’s newly opened 'Love Grub', gleefully tucking into beautifully presented hot and cold meals.
During the late afternoons of each day, they had their own private coaching training sessions with Millwall Community Trust coaches Thang Nguyen and Millwall Lionesses player Leanne Cowen.
Towards the end of the week the young Americans took on the Millwall Community coaches in a friendly football match and also participated at Millwall's popular Friday evening Premier League Kicks tournament at the Lions Centre.
In an action-packed week, there was also time to have a more relaxed social evening at Hollywood Bowl, Surrey Quays where everyone had a great time showing how Bowling is done USA-style!
The Youth Futures International group ended their week in south east London with an invitation to be special guests at Millwall's first Sky Bet League 1 match of the 2016/17 season against Oldham Athletic.
The Lions defeated The Latics 3-0 and the group were warmly applauded when they had their photo taken on the pitch at half-time and an announcement over the PA system was made.
The group headed back to the States the following morning following an enjoyable, enriching experience at Millwall.
Overseeing the 'Youth Futures International' stay was MCT's Community Development and Health Improvement Manager, Richard White, who commented: "It was a real pleasure to welcome our guests from America to Millwall last week.
"Most noticeable about the participants was their politeness, energy and enthusiasm to everything they took part in. We are glad they had an enjoyable experience in London and I'm sure after the experience they had at Millwall they will now keep a closer eye on The Lions in future.
"This was the first time we have worked with Youth Futures International and I'm sure this is the start of a very exciting partnership which I have every confidence will flourish in the coming years."
To find out more about Youth Futures International, you can visit their website at www.yfiexperience.org