SCL Education & Training Head Coach Ahmed Abdulla has been named in England’s 13-man squad ahead of this year’s six-aside World Cup in Greece.
The Saudi Arabian-born midfielder, 27, who moved to Enfield as a child, has been a Lead Coach at Pro:Direct Academy since 2016 and will join up with his England teammates next week for a training camp in the build-up to the World Cup which gets underway in October.
Abdulla came through the youth ranks of Arsenal and West Ham United, before having loan spells with Swindon Town and Dagenham & Redbridge. From the Daggers, Abdulla signed for Vanarama National outfit Barnet in 2012 where he made 29 appearances during a two-year stint at The Hive Stadium.
Enjoying regular first team football with Whitehawk, Staines Town, Ware, Heybridge Swifts and Concord Rangers in the years that followed, Abdulla now plies his trade for Southern League Premier Division South side Hayes & Yeading.
“I’m buzzing to be given the opportunity to represent England at the six-aside World Cup and I can’t wait to pull on the shirt,” said Abdulla, who reveals that Pro:Direct Academy has given him the tools to express himself further on the football pitch.
“As part of the selection process I played in the recent home nations tournament which we won thanks to victories over Scotland and Wales. Playing at the World Cup will be a proud moment for me and I’m ready for the challenge that lies ahead.
“I’ve really enjoyed working on the Pro:Direct Academy programme, which develops 16 to 18-year-olds both in the classroom and on the pitch.”
England reached the quarter-finals of the inaugural World Cup in Lisbon last year, losing to eventual runners-up Poland. The Three Lions’ preparation will gather pace next month when they take part in a mini tournament involving Belgium, Ireland and Wales prior to jetting off to Crete.
SCL works closely with Pro:Direct to deliver a two-year education football development programme, which gives students the opportunity to progress onto university, apprenticeships and employment within the sport and leisure industry.
Pro:Direct, who take part in SCL’s flagship Development League, not only develops students to realise their potential on the field, but also gives youngsters the chance to embark on a career away from football.
To find out more about the programme Pro:Direct run with SCL or if you know someone aged 16-18 years-old who would like to apply for the programme, visit www.wearescl.co.uk/pro-direct-london