LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham will launch a football festival in Trinidad on Saturday, while attending the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup final in the same country.
The festival, run by his David Beckham Academy, will provide football and life skills programmes and coaching workshops to almost 200 young players and coaches.
Beckham discussed the project with FIFA vice-president Jack Warner at the draw for the 2010 World Cup in December last year, and it has now been arranged by the Trinidad Football Federation for the former England skipper to kick off the six day event at the Marvin Lee Stadium in Port of Spain on 26 September.
Speaking about the event, which will take place on the two islands of Trinidad and Tobago, Beckham said: “Trinidad and Tobago have produced some excellent players over the years and the islands are full of young people who love football. I am really looking forward to seeing the young girls and boys from all backgrounds and their coaches at my Academy.
”Encouraging young girls to play football has always been an important part of the thinking behind the Academy and it will be great to take this opportunity to also see some of the world’s best young women play in the Under-17 Final.”
Should England’s bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup be successful, the David Beckham Academy will play a huge part in the run up the tournament. The two organisations have agreed a deal which will see the academy hold projects in each confederation every year until 2017 if the bid succeeds.
This weekend’s event, which Beckham is able to attend due to a break in his schedule with LA Galaxy, will demonstrate how the project would work.
Beckham added: “I am extremely proud and committed to the David Beckham Academy. The proposal with England 2018/22 is an exciting one as football is such a great way to inspire and educate young people in so many ways.”
Jack Warner - who holds a vital vote on the location for the 2018 World Cup - thanked Beckham for taking time out of his schedule to give a “remarkable opportunity for the 200 participants“.
He said: “I would like to express my thanks to David and his team for arranging this. It is heartening to know that a man of such international stature remains committed to the development of talent worldwide. This is remarkable opportunity for the 200 participants. The fact that despite his busy schedule David has taken the time to open this festival, to share his knowledge with the children is testament to his character.”
International president David Dein and chief executive Andy Anson will also attend the Under-17 women’s World Cup final as part of England’s World Cup 2018/22 delegation.