By Lily Ford, PA
Ryan Reynolds told the chairman of a Wrexham futsal club he is “so happy” the U12s team were excited by the arrival of brand new kits after the Deadpool star donated £1,600 (€1,800) to the cause.
Chairman, founder and manager at FC United of Wrexham, Andrew Ruscoe, said Reynolds has kept the club’s “dreams going” and given the children “hope for the future” after he spoke to the 46-year-old over Twitter to alert him to the side’s GoFundMe and received a prompt response.
The actor, who with fellow actor Rob McElhenney owns Welsh side Wrexham AFC, told Mr Ruscoe it was his “pleasure to be a little piece of football in Wrexham… be it my club or yours.”
Mr Ruscoe said he was “massively proud” to receive the purple kits, which even feature a small Deadpool logo on the arm to honour Reynolds’ contribution.
“The boys received it this week and they obviously fell in love with it,” Wrexham-born Mr Ruscoe, 36, told the PA news agency.
“They were coming out with comments like ‘this is mint’ and ‘the kits are amazing’ – the smiles on their faces were overwhelming.
“We only needed about £480, he definitely trebled that for us.”
With the extra money, Reynolds’ donation has gone on to fund kits for the women’s and men’s teams at FC United of Wrexham too.
Mr Ruscoe, who played for Great Britain in 2018, explained that he has been with the U12s team since they were U5s and the money earned through both the GoFundMe and Reynolds will be a catalyst in “life-changing opportunities” for them.
“They want to play in the Uefa futsal Champion’s League,” he said.
“And in Wales, we have our own domestic system so we believe by keeping that group together, we can help them have life-changing opportunities.
“We can get them this opportunity to play in Europe, playing a sport they all love.
“We don’t want financial barriers being in place to stop anyone from participating.
“So basically, in a nutshell, Ryan’s donation has given us that lifeline and keep their dreams ongoing, to hopefully play in the Champions League.”
Mr Ruscoe said that Reynolds has been “really supportive since day one”.
“He’s been very complimentary, saying he’s impressed with everything that we’re doing. And I sent him (a picture of) the lads who have the kit the other day because he wanted me to show him, he was looking forward to seeing.
“He’s shown that he truly cares, basically.
“And I think that’s evident with how the community are really getting behind him and engaging – Rob as well in that.
“What they’ve done is really (transformed) a town and given us hope, and especially given us FC United of Wrexham, and the youngsters that we support, loads of hope for the future.”
Thank you @VancityReynolds for the new kits. The Under 12’s love them 💜 pic.twitter.com/83Q9Mrs2ji
— FC United of Wrexham 🏴 (@FCUtdofWxm) March 8, 2023
Mr Ruscoe said the players and volunteers he works with “inspire” him to keep going and “keep pushing,” adding that the kit is associated with The Offside Trust – its logo is featured on the back of the shirts – as an organisation “close to our hearts” by safeguarding young people in sport.
“The kids … they give me a meaning in sport week in, week out,” he said.
“I think when you’ve got of a bit of a motion to what you’re doing and you know what the overall bigger picture is, that you’re making a difference … these kids are making a difference to us (and) we’re making a difference for them.
“I’ve definitely been overwhelmed with it, it’s been a whirlwind of an experience.
“And I just hope that what this does do for the club, because we are a nonprofit organisation … I just hope someone out there sees the vision of what we have got, that we are genuinely doing it for the right reasons, and maybe come and support us to take us to that next level.”
Mr Ruscoe said the club has “high ambitions” for its players – and confirmed Reynolds will be receiving his own personalised shirt, with his surname on the back, in the post.