Players from clubs within the North Riding Football League to represent England at UEFA Regions Cup in Romania – a prestigious European competition for amateur players.
Talented amateur football players from across North Yorkshire and Teesside will be donning the Three Lions on their chest this month, as the North Riding Football League representative team heads to Romania to represent England in the UEFA Regions Cup.
Made up of players who regularly turn out for clubs competing within the North Riding County FA-affiliated North Riding Football League, the representative side defeated a number of teams performing on behalf of their respective leagues from across England to lift the FA Inter-League Cup.
As a result, North Riding’s players will now wear the famous Three Lions badge on their chest as they journey to Romania between 14 and 23 September to take part in the Intermediate Round of the UEFA Regions Cup.
The UEFA Regions Cup is a European competition specifically for amateur teams across the continent, having been hosted biennially since the first competition in 1999. Preliminary Round fixtures have already been played, with the Intermediate Round made up of two groups; the winners of each later progressing to the Regions Cup finals, which are to be held in June 2019 and hosted by one of the eight qualified teams.
The full list of players representing the North Riding Football League – and their clubs – is as follows:
Andrew Macdonald (Boro Rangers)
Patrick Pasani (Thornaby Dubliners)
Chris Norlund (St Marys 1947)
Russel Spence (Thornaby Dubliners)
Jamie Lee (Redcar Town)
Nathan Liddell (Boro Rangers)
Joel Guy (Boro Rangers)
Jack Guy (Boro Rangers)
Jamie Bellamy (Boro Rangers)
Matthew McQueeney (Boro Rangers)
Liam Southall (Kader FC)
James Dillon (Boro Rangers)
Stuart Rose (Boro Rangers)
Phil Horsman (Boro Rangers)
Matthew Sullivan (Redcar Town)
Arran Newman (Thornaby Dubliners)
Robbie Keenan (Boro Rangers)
Ben Turner (Stockton West End)
The team will be led by manager Ben Wheatley, who will be assisted by coaches Craig Holmes, Nick Smales and Geoff Kirk.
North Riding Football League’s opening Group 2 game in the Intermediate Round will be against West Slovakia on Sunday 16 September, later playing Romanian opponents from Buzău on Wednesday 19 September. The final Group 2 game will take place against an Irish league representative side on Saturday 22 September.
Speaking ahead of the squad flying out to Romania, manager Wheatley said: “All season, the players and staff have been fantastic and have been rewarded with a life-changing experience in representing our country in the UEFA Regions League. The players and staff are so excited; we can’t wait to board the plane.
“Each player is now on a strict training regime, provided by The FA, and are looking forward to the challenge of representing England. We do not know much about our opposition from Romania, Slovakia and Ireland – but we will go there and do the best we possibly can.”
Boro Rangers central midfielder, Joel Guy, added: “Preparation is going according to plan. We’re upping the minutes every week whilst trying not to over-play or over-train. I’m feeling fit. It’s every boy’s dream to play in a competitive game with the England shirt on your back. Being selected to represent your country is the greatest honour in football.
“I was advised to retire from playing football at the age of 27 after a serious knee injury, but being able to represent my country at 30 vindicates the decision not to. All of the hard work to come back from that injury has been worth it. I’d also like to thank the North Riding FA for everything they’ve done for us all.”
To keep track of the team’s performances in the UEFA Regions Cup, please visit www.uefa.com/regionscup