A football team crouch together on an indoor pitch in green shirts and red subs vests
Acorn FC took part in their first competitive match at the Tigers Trust Arena this week

Hull asylum seeker football team make history

The Welcome House Football Club (Acorn FC) have this week made history by playing their first competitive Active Through Football fixture against another city.

Acorn FC met Leeds United Foundation’s ATF team (Bridge FC) at the Tigers Trust Arena on Tuesday (16 April). It was the first match between the two Active Through Football teams, led by people seeking asylum and refugees. 

Acorn FC played Bridge FC at the Tigers Trust arena, Hull

The Sport England Active Through Football (ATF) programme, which is funded by the National Lottery and delivered by the Football Foundation, launched in Hull in 2022 and provides safe, welcoming, and accessible football opportunities for culturally diverse communities in Hull. 

Active Through Football is a national programme with Hull being one of 25 projects across the country. All 25 ATF projects work together with local communities to tackle inequalities, increase activity levels, and improve the health and wellbeing of local people. 

The Chair of Hull’s Active Through Football Consortium Board, Carmen Taylor, said:

“This is a poignant match for us for a number of reasons. It not only demonstrates the success of Hull’s Active Through Football programme so far, it shows the power of football in bringing together individuals and communities.

“This is the first inter-city competitive ATF match and we hope it will kickstart many more games across the country.”

Acorn FC, now in its second year, is made up of a group of male asylum seekers and refugees residing in Hull. 

The team’s founder and captain Anei Akon has been a driving force for the team, following his arrival in Hull after escaping war and family tragedy in Sudan. 

Staff from Welcome House have worked closely with Anei to make Acorn FC a reality with further support from the Tigers Trust, the delivery agent for ATF.

The Active Through Football Hull Consortium, made up of key local partners, has assisted Acorn FC to become an East Riding County FA (ERCFA) affiliated club. 

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