Last weekend our under-12s travelled to Ypres, Belgium, to attend the Premier League's annual Christmas Truce Tournament.
The event saw Premier League teams unite with six teams from Belgium, France and Germany to compete for a trophy whilst remembering those who died in battle, 100 years on from the end of the First World War.
Boys from Arsenal, Burnley, Cardiff City and Sunderland won their respective national qualifiers at Armed Forces bases around the country on Remembrance Weekend last month to earn a place in the finals.
The youngsters competed in a two-day tournament, before they visited the location where the soldiers fought and died more than a century ago. They paid tribute to them in the Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate, a remembrance service conducted every day since 1928.
Alongside their opponents from Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Lille, Lens, Cologne and Hertha Berlin they learnt to understand how football unified soldiers across the trenches on Christmas Day in 1914.
Academy manager Per Mertesacker travelled with the under-12 for the tournament. He said: “Education is a key part of our philosophy at the Arsenal Academy, and it is a priority that our young players have a good education and learn good values. This tournament combines both education, football and respect, and it was an honour for us all to be there and to pay our respect to those who fought for us.”
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