A new learning and education centre has been dedicated to Dylan Tombides at West Ham United’s Academy of Football in Chadwell Heath.
The Dylan Tombides Learning Centre was officially unveiled at a special ceremony with family and friends on March 8th, 2019 – which would have been the late footballer’s 25th birthday.
Dylan’s Mum Tracy and brother Taylor were joined by grandparents Lorraine and Colin Robertson and cousin Maddison Troon, close family friends and Dylan’s agent Joe Sealey and his wife Nicole.
Speaking after the launch Tracy – who co-founded DT38 to raise awareness of testicular cancer in 2015 – said she was “overcome with pride” after touring the new facility.
She said: “As a mother it fills me with a huge sense of pride to know that Dylan will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of people because that’s the way it was when he was with us.
“For Dylan’s name to be associated with the positive development of young players in the Academy is a tremendous honour and I was extremely proud to visit what will be a very important part of his legacy going forward.
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone at West Ham United for honouring Dylan in this way, it means the world to us but also presents a great opportunity to make such a difference.
“As a charity this association gives us another important opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of health, wellbeing and the risks of testicular cancer which can affect boys and men of any age.”
In a statement, West Ham United revealed: “The Dylan Tombides Learning Centre will form an integral part of the new Chadwell Heath redevelopment, which is set for final completion next month. Consisting of two fully functional classrooms, with interactive facilities and educational programmes specifically designed for young players of all ages, from entry level at Under-9s right up to professionals in the Under-23 squad, the centre will play a key role in the development of the Academy scholars off the field.”
The Dylan Tombides Learning Centre will form an integral part of the new £4 million Chadwell Heath redevelopment, which is set for final completion in April.
Consisting of two fully functional classrooms, with interactive facilities and educational programmes specifically designed for young players of all ages, from entry level at Under-9s right up to professionals in the Under-23 squad, the centre will play a key role in the development of the Academy scholars off the field.
Also attending the event on Friday were West Ham United Academy Director Terry Westley, coaches Mark Phillips, Steve Potts and DT38 Ambassadors Tony Carr (Dylan’s academy coach), Rob Pritchard, Carlton Cole, Jack Collison and Dr Richard Weiler.
Speaking at the event, Terry Westley said: “This will remind everyone here of Dylan and his legacy. Every time the young players walk through into the Learning Centre, his image is there to inspire, and it’s a great honour for his family, ensuring his legacy will live on.
“For our Academy scholars, it’s not just about the game, or playing on the grass. It’s that holistic approach, which is very important to us. We provide educational support for our young players from the age of nine, whether it be with homework, extra-curricular activities, or learning behaviours on and off the pitch. Creating good people is, for me, as big as creating good players.”
Tony Carr added: “It is a fantastic tribute to Dylan. I can’t speak highly enough of his character. You’ve only got to look at the last image of him on the wall next to the classrooms – he’d had chemotherapy, lost his hair, going through a traumatic time…yet was still working hard, training, playing and believing he would beat this terrible illness. That showed me his character and how strong he was, as a player and a person.
“The first thing we used to stress with young players was: for however long you are here, enjoy it and work hard, because you don’t know where the journey is going to take you. And you hope that when the day comes that they have to leave – because a lot obviously do – that they are a better and more rounded person. We can certainly use those sentiments for Dylan.”