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Albion's new sporting chance
 Women's Football News 19 Aug 2009
Sports fans perusing the latest local results may have spotted the emergence of a new, ground breaking outfit in the league standings.
'Sporting Club Albion' is West Bromwich Albion's new, official, representative club for all sports outside of the Baggies' professional football department and Academy.
Run by The Albion Foundation, SCA is an amalgamation of the successful West Bromwich Albion Women's Football Club and the West Bromwich Albion Disability Sports Club. The set up, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, has expanded further with the introduction of a brand new basketball section.
All SCA will underline their strong links to the Football Club by wearing the famous blue and white stripes in competition.
SCA kicks off its new era with seven girls/women's football teams, seven disability sports teams and two boys basketball teams at under-14 and 16 level, competing in regional, national and possibly international competitions.
SCA is being run as an amateur, grass roots organisation but with the support of a team of professionals from within The Albion Foundation's Development unit.
Darren Eales, Secretary and a Trustee of The Albion Foundation, has been appointed as Chairman of SCA. He will be supported by a management committee plus sports officers and coaches.
Darren said: "We are really excited to be at the forefront of a nationally unique sporting initiative. While this concept is not unusual in parts of Europe and Scandinavia, as far as we are aware the Sporting Club Albion set up is unique for a professional football club in this country.
"This further demonstrates The Albion Foundation's commitment, in partnership with the Football Club, to supporting sport in the local community.
"If Sporting Club Albion can go on to mirror some of the Football Club's success over the past 130 years in other sports, we will have something to be really proud of."
SCA is based at The Albion Foundation's Tom Silk site, Halfords Lane. It has received support and investment from the Football Club and has also forged an official partnership with the neighbouring Sandwell Academy School.
Crucially, all three of Sporting Club Albion's specialist sports will be underpinned by Albion Foundation development projects, which will provide youngsters with an opportunity to participate in the respective sports - regardless of ability.
SCA Coaches will focus on recruiting talented boys, girls, men and women from the local community to create male and female teams ranging from junior through to senior. SCA Staff also aim to create a disability section for each of their specialist sports to ensure they are fully inclusive. This will build upon the excellent work of Paul Hunt since his appointment as Disability Sports Officer three years ago.
The Albion Foundation has encouraged mass participation in sporting and educational activities through its day to day in schools and the local community. SCA will complement this work by joining forces with a range of partners, including schools, sports governing bodies and regional and national agencies such as Sport England and Youth Sport Trust. SCA already has plans to branch out into other sports - if the necessary funding is forthcoming. The Albion Foundation hopes to attract local investment through its partners and charitable trust status.
Jamie Bunch, The Albion Foundation's Sporting Director, said: We believe Sporting Club Albion is the first of its kind in the country, where a football club has pulled together representative teams in various sports under one banner. Although this is a ground breaking concept, we have been working towards it for the last ten years. More recently, we have invested time and resources and expertise under the one Sporting Club Albion umbrella which will not only sustain the current provision but hopefully also enhance it.
"At The Albion Foundation, we truly believe every young person should have the opportunity to pursue a sporting dream in the chosen sport. Instead of losing young people to surrounding areas, like we do in specific sports at the moment, we hope Sporting Club Albion will make The Hawthorns an inspirational home not just for football, but many other sports too."

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