Last Saturday was one of the events of the calendar year for the Soccer 5’s youngsters as they got to challenge members from neighbouring Soccer 5’s venues in an interleague style tournament.
The Soccer 5’s programme, which is part funded by the Croydon Council, runs in estates across the borough of Croydon with the aim of engaging as many young people as possible from Croydon Grove, Highbury Avenue, Regina Road, Shrublands Avenue and Wilford Rec.
The programme is designed to engage the young people of the borough in structured sporting activity, with professional coaches, who double as mentors for the youngsters. This gives the participants a chance to be active, in a safe and secure environment and the opportunity to interact with likeminded others.
On the day, the tournament was broken into two age brackets – 8-11 and 12-15. The Supporters Trust, who invested £2,000 in the sustainability of the Soccer 5’s programme, kindly sponsored the tournament. Alan Palmer, Head of the Supporters Trust was on hand to share in the success of the day.
The tournament had over 70 people attend, with 11 teams spread across the two age groups. The day was all about inclusivity, as participants were offered the chance to be introduced to a new sport which the Foundation are hoping to pilot at weekly sessions, Handball. The tournament was used as a platform to launch the idea of integrating Handball in to the programme as a regular sport and gave the youngsters a taster of what the sport offers.
The behaviour on the day was a positive reflection of the relationship that the coaches have built up with the participants and testament to coach’s ability to mentor as well as teach.
Another highlight was the success of the lower age group, as previous feedback had indicated that the younger participants would enjoy the chance to compete in tournaments and be rewarded for their regular attendance at sessions.
In the U11’s category, the winners were Croydon Grove who were victorious without losing a single game.
The u15’s category was very competitive with plenty of goals in some exciting encounters. Regina Road came out the winners to hold onto the Soccer 5’s title for a second time.
All participants received a Crystal Palace Foundation wristband for taking part and the winners received the Soccer 5’s shield along with medals and Premier League shirt numbers, to stick on their shirts.
Look out for the next tournament due to take place in October.