Created by a group of Japanese coaches, the Samurai Academy aims to use football as a mechanism for helping to integrate the youth of Acton's large Japenese community with local Londoners that they may not have mixed with usually.
The academy has become an integral part of Acton's community and even led to the captain of Japan's national team, Maya Yoshida, becoming an ambassador for the club and occasionally shows up to help coach from the sidelines.
The coaching is done largely by Japanese coaches, though there is the experienced Simon O’Neill who has been involved with both Arsenal and Chelsea. From school starters to a men’s team, the academy has rooted itself in Acton. The players learn respect and discipline, as well as cultural values through the language and camaraderie of sport.
If it wasn’t for this club, many young Japanese footballers would not play sport. The creation of a community space that centres around their heritage, but welcomes those from other cultures, allows a unique integration to the host country. Watching young people communicate effectively on the football pitch makes you contemplate wider society: how David Cameron could once proclaim that multiculturalism is dead.
Photos : @camylyf
Kodak Portra 400