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Twinned football clubs celebrate silver anniversary
Buy this photo » Chairman Steve Haynes with members of Kidlington Youth FC. Back: Harry Wynn, Toni Pedro, Ciaran Murphy, Billy James, Matt Comley, Charlie Mould and Daniel Neale. Front: Tom Leach, Eleanor Whitfield, Steve, and Abi Haynes. Picture: OX57786 Antony Moore
YOUNGSTERS from Kidlington are off to Leiderdorp, near Leiden, later this month to celebrate a quarter of a century of free kicks and friendship.
It was in 1989, through the Oxford-Leiden twin city link, that Kidlington Youth FC and RCL Leiderdorp enjoyed their first exchange with the Dutch team.
Thanks to the continued hard work of the clubs and parents, the link has flourished, with 130 people going on the trip to Leiden this Easter weekend.
Steve Haynes, chairman of Kidlington Youth FC, said: “This year represents a huge milestone in the relationship between these two youth football clubs.
“For 25 years, players and parents have been making the annual trip across the North Sea to make new friendships and further strengthen existing ones. The exchange is blooming and the numbers making the trips seem to increase year on year. It will be my third trip with the teams in seven years and I have even met RCL managers who themselves started out as young players making the exchange.”
In 2012, RCL brought a group of more than 100 to visit Kidlington FC, who will return the favour by taking three teams of boys and one of girls to RCL.
Daniel Neale, 12, from Kidlington, who plays for Kidlington’s Under-13s team, hosted two RCL players last year.
The Gosford Hill pupil said: “Two boys called Bass and Borra came to stay with my family and they were really good fun. We played lots of football and also on my trampoline and Xbox. And we had a horse racing night too.
“At Easter my friend Rio and I will be staying with a Dutch family. It will be my first trip abroad and I am really excited.”
Kidlington Youth FC, founded in 1966, runs boys teams from Under-Six to Under-17 and girls teams from Under-10 to Under-16. Teams play in the Oxford Mail Boys League, the Oxford Mail Girls League and the Oxfordshire Youth Invitation League sporting emerald green shirts and socks and black shorts.
Mr Haynes added: “The youngsters have a wonderful time together, playing friendly matches and tournaments, sharing days out and social events. And as a result, and with the help of things like Facebook, lasting friendships have been made.”
The clubs will also mark the 25th anniversary by exchanging framed football shirts.
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