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Using the power of the beautiful game to unite communities across Sheffield

Darnall Football Academy held a parade down Staniforth Road. Picture: Chris Etchells.
Darnall Football Academy held a parade down Staniforth Road. Picture: Chris Etchells.
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A Sheffield junior football club set up to help bring kids from all backgrounds together marked a successful first season by holding a parade through the area its leaders hope to unite.

The Darnall Football Academy began in 2013 and numbers soon grew as word spread around the suburb and surrounding areas.

Darnall Football Academy under-7s. Picture: Chris Etchells.

Darnall Football Academy under-7s. Picture: Chris Etchells.

It entered teams into the Sheffield and District Junior Football League for the first time in September and its under-14s Darnall Diamonds were crowned league champions.

The team, which features youngsters from seven different ethnicity, received their trophies at a presentation night following the parade.

Coach Kabier Aslam said: "The parade is a way of getting the message out there about the work we do and gives the kids something special to remember what they have achieved.

"With it being the end of the first season and given what the kids have achieved we wanted to do something special to celebrate.

"Ramadan is also coming up so we thought it would be nice to get everyone together."

The parade began outside Balfour Carpets on Staniforth Road and the group of around 100, accompanied by drummers and banners, marched to Stevenson Road.

And the under-14s weren't the only team with extra reason to celebrate - the club's under-7s and under-11s also won their respective cups.

The academy, which is run by around 20 volunteers and three paid staff, started with a parent taking his child and a few friends to play football.

There are now hundreds of youngsters, who live in areas across the city including Darnall, Handsworth, Tinsley, Firth Park, Sharrow, Nether Edge and Parson Cross.

And they hail from all sorts of different backgrounds - Bengali, Pakistani, Somali and Libyan children play alongside Yemeni, Indian, Kurdish and English children.

Kabier said: "The club is just growing and growing and we are looking at having two, possibly three extra teams in the league next season."

For more information or to get involved search Darnall Football Academy on Facebook.