Rudimental has partnered up with the England Beach Soccer National Team to become the team’s official ground sponsor ahead of their first international match in July 2021. The ground aptly renamed, Locksmith Park is the home of the England Beach Soccer team in Ilford, Essex, a stone's throw from where the Rudimental frontman grew up and a place close to his heart.
Locksmith joins an impressive collection of passionate musicians including his great friend Ed Sheeran, Elton John, The Libertines and Jake Bugg who have already put pen to paper to support teams in the footballing sector.
Locksmith is unique in that he has chosen to partner up with beach football, a variant of association football played on a beach or some form of sand and in particular England’s Beach Soccer team, who represents England in international beach soccer competitions and is controlled by the England Beach Soccer Association— independent of the governing body of football in England, The Football Association.
An avid Arsenal F.C. fan, Locksmith became passionate about the sport after he was invited to take part in a series that captain Aaron Clarke was running for YouTube showcasing a bicycle kick challenge on the sand, with various celebrities and ex-pro footballers. During the filming Locksmith became captivated by the incredible skill and expertise of the players, playing such an intense sport on the sand and in particular was taken with how much the players' journey to taking up the sport resonated with him and his own story (a lot of the players had been released from professional football clubs and had transitioned to Beach Football as an alternative to the mainstream sport).
Over the past 18months Locksmith has been taking part in his own personal challenge, to unlock his own potential and the potential of others in order to highlight the power that sport and physical activity can have to support our mental and physical health and drive us to achieve the impossible. Key to the story is about never giving up and helping show that through the ups and downs and struggles we have in life there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Whilst Beach Football is massively popular overseas in Europe and in South America, it is still very much upcoming in the UK and Locksmith aim is to shine a light on the sport, in order to grow the profile and encourage participation. Over the term his desire is to build on the England Beach Soccer community and the significance of community sport, in particular the importance of participation in sport and how being a part of a club can help young people to consider become physically active.
‘I feel incredibly proud to be partnering up with England Beach Soccer and putting my name and support to a sport and community I am so passionate about. The skill of the players and dedication to achieve is something that has captivated me along with the journeys of each player, many of which have transitioned from football into the sport, which massively resonated with my own story and therefore feel an affinity with.
Being able to help provide a platform for the team to showcase their talent and to achieve at the highest level is a real honour and I look forward to them pushing forward this season. My hope is that with my backing, the sport will become even more widely known and recognised in the UK and will encourage more and more young people to participate and give it a go!’.
Aaron Clarke, Captain of England Beach Football said of the partnership-
England Beach Soccer are very excited to secure a partnership with Locksmith. Beach soccer in the UK is still growing but with Locksmith, I believe we can transform this sport and give kids and adults all around the country a new fun experience of playing beach soccer. Locksmith and I are very excited about the development of grassroots beach soccer as this will give children a new skill to develop and hopefully a pathway to one day represent the country.
World Cup Qualifiers – Nazaré, Portugal 17-27 June 2021
Captain Aaron Clarke leads his England team in the World Cup Qualifying matches in Portugal at the end of June. Having missed over a year of any competitive matches, the squad have been training regularly with Felipe Lira at the beach sports facility in London where the squad has been selected for the upcoming tour.
They make the trip feeling very positive about their chances. Should they qualify through the group stages against they will progress to the final stages where the cream of Europe awaits them for a chance to qualify for the World Cup.
The current squad has a great blend of experience and youth with four centurions, Aaron Clarke, Mitch Day, James Temple and Scott Lawson bringing their undoubted talents to the party. Alongside these are two players, Nathan Demetrius-Kingston and Reanu Grossett making their international debuts and we wish them every success.
Recent tournaments have been a mixed bag of performances, particularly as Europe has 5 countries currently sitting inside the world’s top 10. Hosts Portugal are at 1, Italy at 3, Russia at 4, Spain at 5 and Switzerland at 8 so a tough prospect but one that the team is relishing. England are 15th in Europe although having not played for some considerable time, they will be looking to make up for lost time and improve their world standing.
The England team is made up of players from across the country and all take part in the domestic competitions organised by the Beach Soccer Association, led by Luke Kerr.
This England team are well travelled and have competed in tournaments in China, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Barbados (winning both competitions), Nigeria, Japan, Poland and Italy in the last few years. They will hope that this international experience will stand them in good stead for the challenges ahead.