Every year, there is a U12 international tournament called the Christmas Truce tournament. It's organized by the Premier League and this year it will feature two teams each from England, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Scotland. Held in Ypres, Belgium, it commemorates the Christmas Truce of 1914 in which the armies on the Western Front took a break from fighting to wish each other happy holidays, bury their dead together, and even play a little football.
To get to the tournament, two teams from England must qualify, and so every year there is a tournament held between the U12 teams of the 20 Premier League teams. This year saw Aston Villa put into Group B with Chelsea, West Ham, Hull City and Everton. Chelsea finished tops in the group (and later won the qualifying tournament), but Villa came in second thanks in part to a victory over West Ham (picture above). As such they couldn't win, but did play in the semifinals for the Plate.
There they faced off against Manchester United and lost, but nevertheless, it's great to see the lower levels of Aston Villa have some success even while the upper levels struggle. Congrats to the boys on a strong showing!
And yes, I did write this story just for the chance to use the photo of adorable Villa youngsters celebrating.