The Ray Kennedy Cup is an annual football tournament in Copenhagen, Denmark, where people with Parkinson’s can meet others with similar experiences. It’s a great chance to socialise, and of course play football, with other members of the Parkinson’s community.
Ray Kennedy was a well-known 1970s footballer, who played for Arsenal, Liverpool and England. Unfortunately, his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at the age of 33. With his connection to Parkinson’s, we thought he was the ideal person to name the tournament after.
This year the event is to be held on Saturday 3rd September and will be contested between eight teams, representing Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Wales and a combined UK team; including several members of Liverpool’s and Stockport’s Northern Lights Group, which has had great success on the domestic competition front. The England represented squad will be kindly sponsored by Sport Parkinson’s U.K, who provided £5000 to help fund the flights and accommodation for the players.
The first tournament was hosted five years ago to promote physical activity amongst those with Parkinson’s. Staying active is such an important part of treating the condition, and it’s been great to see the tournament grow over the years.
In the tournament, every team is made up of seven players and three substitutes. Each team is allowed to field one player who doesn’t have Parkinson’s, although that player must be over 60.
This year Liverpool County FA Inclusion Officer and newly-appointed England’s Parkinson’s Walking Football Manager Stu Carrington is going to be managing a team of players that will be representing the England squad in the Ray Kennedy Cup.
"What a honour and a privilege to be chosen as a manager to be taking these guys over to Copenhagen and playing in such a worthwhile tournament and occasion," Stuart said.
"When I was first asked by John Roche (Northern Lights co-founder) to be part of this journey over a year ago, I was humbled to be in the presence of such amazing and inspiring bunch of individuals.
"The trip will be about camaraderie and building friendships that will last a lifetime, and also not forgetting to bring the trophy back home!"