2015 will be forever remembered as the year Joe Luca discovered football. All previous hobbies and interests took a back seat as the little man put on his football boots and never looked back. His love for his team, West Bromwich Albion has no bounds, he literally lives, eats (Match of the Day repeats with his breakfast anyone?) and sleeps – in a West Brom duvet of course – football. And, as well as loving his team with a unbridled passion that borders on obsession, he also likes to play a little…
Joe has spent the year working with coaches from The Albion Foundation, a brilliant organisation that works in conjunction with West Bromwich Albion to provide sporting and educational activities in schools and the community. These sporting activities and opportunities are for both children and adults, able-bodied and with disabilities. Joe has been attending two different, weekly coaching sessions with the Foundation, working with lots of different coaches, to develop his football skills, his confidence and his social skills. He loves the sessions, they are great fun and always have the element of positivity that makes the learning a happy time. And Joe has thrived during this time – he has made great friends, won numerous Star of the Week awards and has been invited to take part in a special match when he played for the Albion Foundation against teams from Shire Oak, and scored a screamer from the half way line. It has been one hell of a year for a little boy!
And then, last month, West Bromwich Albion and The Albion Foundation proved that sometimes, dreams really can come true. Joe was invited to take part in what he thought was a photograph session with The Albion Foundation. In actual fact, Joe was about to meet his heroes, the West Bromwich Albion team, and was going to be a star of the 2015 Annual Christmas message. He had the most unbelievable day , with the Squad serving up Christmas Dinner to the astonished boys, and then manager Tony Pulis telling them to get themselves ready to train with the team. As a parent, it was wonderful to witness Joe having a day he will never forget.
The video was released last week and has now had more than 53K hits on the West Brom Facebook page. Set to the tale of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’, it is just lovely, very sweet, very magical and totally ‘Christmas’. It made the front page of local newspapers, and was then shown on the big screen during the West Brom V. AFCB match on Saturday, causing my dad to tell everyone in the seats around his – ‘that’s my grandson – the one who usually sits here…he’s gone to see Star Wars today!)
This post is a thank you to all at West Bromwich Albion for making a little boy’s Christmas, showing him that hard work and perseverance does have its rewards, and that dreams really can come true. I just want to add a special thanks to the coaches who have helped Joe so much this year from The Albion Foundation – Merry Christmas to all!