Premier League Kicks London Regional Cup comes to Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub
Thirteen clubs from across London with a total of 25 teams in the boys and girls tournaments joined the Community Sports Trust at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub for a fantastic day of football.
The London regional round of the Premier League Kicks Under-16’s tournament took place on Thursday 13 April at Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub.
The tournament saw teams representing AFC Wimbledon, Arsenal, Brentford, Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leyton Orient, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford and West Ham United travelled to west London for a jam-packed day of football.
Throughout the day ex-Premier League footballer and Brentford FC Ambassador, Marcus Gayle was delivering Anti-Discrimination Workshops for the players whilst they didn’t have a match. The focus of the workshop was how to be an ally to people in diverse communities.
Whilst football was at the heart of the day, the wider event was focused on uniting all corners of the community and included attendance from Hounslow Neighbourhoods and the West Area Youth Engagement Team from Metropolitan Police.
All fixtures were played in a competitive spirit but also had an emphasis on fair play, with referees awarding bonus points for the teams who were respectful and playing matches in the right spirit.
During the day Brentford players Aaron Hickey and Matt Cox were also in attendance to give a few coaching tips and words of encouragement to the Brentford teams.
Aaron Hickey said, “It’s been nice to see all the kids come together, socialise and have fun whilst playing football.
“Just watching from the sides brought back memories of growing up and playing at my local pitch with all my friends. It’s important for young people to have these opportunities and today is a great example of that.”
The tournament was played in a round-robin format and at the end of the group stages Tottenham Hotspur and Leyton Orient were the top two teams in the girls and Arsenal and Chelsea topped the boys.
In the finals, Tottenham Hotspur beat Leyton Orient 5-0 whilst Arsenal and Chelsea played out a 0-0 draw before the Gunners edged a sudden-death penalty shootout.
Both the Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal teams will now progress to a national finals event in the summer which will be held at Warwick University.
Nick Perchard, Head of Communities at the Premier League commented, “Premier League Kicks started in 2006 as a way for us to try and engage with young people, particularly in areas where there are perhaps not so many things for them to do. It’s free provision in the heart of communities provided by 90 professional clubs across England and Wales. We are using football to engage young people but then develop their personal skills and look at opportunities for the future.
“20% of the coaches that work on the programme started as participants and are now paid employees of their club’s foundation, so we are creating role models from within those communities who can talk really powerfully to those young people and show them that there is a great path that they can follow.”