A group of Ukrainian children were able to meet their heroes as part of a visit to the Brighton and Hove Albion training ground.
The group of 15 refugees visited the training ground as part of an initiative with Albion in the Community, where they met manager Roberto De Zerbi and several players.
After attending some soccer practice sessions, the children also met Albion stars such as Leandro Trossard and Adam Lallana and chatted with the players ahead of their crucial 4-1 win over Graham Potter’s Chelsea.
One child, Valentine, eight, who now lives in Hove, said: “It was very, very magical [to meet Trossard], he is my favorite player. I’ve lived here for four months and it was a special day for me.”
The refugees were able to meet the players and manager as more and more Ukrainian refugees get involved with Albion in the community sessions.
The visit was also special for coach De Zerbi as he is linked with Ukraine having previously managed Shakhtar Donetsk. The Italian led the team to the top of the Ukrainian Premier League just before the conflict started.
The manager was taken with his team to an air raid shelter in Kyiv, where they remained until all international players were safely evacuated from the country.
De Zerbi said: “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet this amazing group of children.
“I’m so glad they are happy and safe here in Sussex and enjoying playing football with Albion in the community.”
“I was very happy to see them because I am connected to Ukraine and its people. I was sad that they had to go because the situation there was too bad, so it was nice for the kids to see the players in their shirts because they were having a hard time.”
Matt Dorn, CEO of Albion in the Community added: “Albion in the Community is about creating opportunity and connecting people to football.
“Today was a fantastic opportunity for the children. It’s one of those things that they take with them and will remember forever.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23090248.ukrainian-refugees-meet-albion-players-community-event/?ref=rss Ukrainian refugees meet Albion players at a community event