Black Cats star Duncan Watmore has scored a new role.
The England Under-21 star was today announced as an Ambassador for the Football Foundation – the charity that develops better grassroots sport facilities with money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government.
The striker, who recently put pen to paper on a new four-year deal, has first-hand experience of life further down the league ladder - he turned out for Altrincham and Hibernian before breaking through into the SAFC first team.
“I am delighted to become an Ambassador for the Football Foundation," he said
“It is so important that we improve the state of grassroots sport facilities across the country. It makes such a difference to kids, and frankly people of all ages, if they are playing their football on quality surfaces.
“The Foundation’s investment into increasing the capacity and quality of our sports infrastructure is giving more people the chance to play sport purely for the love of it.
“It is also essential for developing technical skills as a player. If we want to encourage the creation of more home-grown sportspeople, we need to develop the basic platform of proper public sports facilities as the starting point.
“In the Football Foundation, the Government and the football industry have created an incredible, business-like charity that is improving facilities at the grassroots right across the country. The Foundation also played a key part in the community sports hall at Altrincham FC who played a huge role in my development.
“It’s an incredible success story and I can’t wait to get started on playing my part in it!”
Duncan has represented England at both Under-20 and Under-21 level and is one of only two players in the history of the Premier League to have a First-class honours degree, graduating from Newcastle University with a first in Economics and Business Management earlier this year.
Rory Carroll, Head of Communications at the Football Foundation, said: “Given the scale of the task the country faces to provide towns and cities across the country with the community sports facilities that they deserve, we at the Foundation ensure that our investment goes into projects rather than expensive marketing campaigns.
“We are incredibly lucky to have a team of fantastic Ambassadors that help us get the message of how important grassroots facilities are, and how the Foundation’s investment is transforming the landscape of grassroots sport in this country.
“When Duncan agreed to become a Football Foundation Ambassador we were absolutely thrilled.
“He is literally one of the country’s brightest young stars – as his recent achievement of a first-class honours degree in Economics can testify!
“Duncan’s profile and support will be invaluable as we work hard to improve the experience for the millions of players, volunteers and coaches in grassroots football and other sports.”
Funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government (via Sport England), the Football Foundation is the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 14,000 grants worth more than £540m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £777m – meaning it has delivered nearly £1.3billion of grassroots investment.