The UK's biggest street football tournament, The Last Stand, is heading to Birmingham this weekend as 30 talented young girls and women compete at the new Aston Villa indoor arena.
The tournament is raising awareness of mental health and is backed by England national team icons Rio Ferdinand and Nikita Parris.
As well as a thrilling blend of energy, skill, and passion, the players will also deliver important messages of inclusion and empowerment and promote support for mental health.
The Last Stand, which is supported by Nando's and in partnership with Mind Charity, will see 30 female footballers aged 15 to 22 compete against each other.
Team Birmingham and Team London will go head to head as the event unfolds. Ferdinand has already posted a message of support for the London side ahead of the clash on Sunday.
"Good luck all you girls from London, make sure you go and produce and bring back the trophy," the former Manchester United star said in an Instagram video.
As well as showcasing local footballers, The Last Stand sets out to promote a new wave of talent in music and dance.
The event will feature live DJ sets and gaming stations for those attending for the vibe, and for those wanting looking for advice surrounding mental health, Mind Charity will be holding open conversations throughout the day about how to support each other during difficult times.
"We believe that by working together we are more effective and inclusive," said Owen Harris of Mind’s Community Development Service. "To be able to support community projects like The Last Stand is another exciting opportunity to engage with young people and help raise awareness about the importance of mental health."
Harris and Mind's aim is to educate and encourage people to pay attention to their mental wellbeing and take care of every aspect of their health.
Gundeep Anand, founder of The Last Stand and highly sought-after director, created the street football tournament in a bid to help minimise gang culture. His hope is to inspire and unite creative young people through a shared love of the beautiful game.
Former players of The Last Stand have gone on to pursue careers in writing, film, and broadcast.
"Football is just an excuse to bring people together," he said. "What happens before and after is the biggest part. The power of the community is so important. We can open the lid of imagination. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I didn't anticipate how influential this tournament would become."
The Last Stand will take place at Aston Villa's indoor arena on Sunday, November 28th. Tickets are free and are available to acquire online in limited supply.
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