There was definitely a buzz in the air at CPS on Friday, as 16 teams of excited U9 footballers gathered together for a football festival to remember! With eight teams from London (Finton House x 2, Fulham Prep, Garden House, Ravenscourt Park Prep x 2, The Roche, Thomas’s Fulham) and eight local teams (Cranleigh Prep x 2, Cranleigh Primary School, Greenfields, Oakwood, Park Mead and St Cuthbert-Mayne x 2), there was an excellent mix of schools, many of whom had never played against each other before.
After a delicious BBQ lunch, provided by our wonderful catering team, the players, plus their parents and coaches, enjoyed a superb ‘Question & Answer’ session in the chapel with Graeme Le Saux, who captured his audience with some great responses to the children’s wide range of questions, accompanied by some very amusing stories.
Tom Bird from the Chelsea FC Foundation gave a summary of the rules, and after that the football festival began. With Chelsea banners and goals all set out on the four pitches and the training areas bathed in sunshine, Cranleigh Prep School’s stunning grounds were shown off to perfection. The tournament was played on a round robin basis, with the winners on each pitch going forward to compete for the accolade of festival champions.
Each team was given the unique opportunity to take part in a Technical Workshop with the Chelsea FC Foundation coaches in between matches. Some of the luckier schools were even accompanied by Graeme Le Saux at the skills station, teaching them ball skills and setting them fun challenges. With a Chelsea coach positioned on each pitch, while Graeme, Keith Harmes (U16 Chelsea girls’ team coach) and Tom Bird (U8 and U12 Chelsea boys’ coach) scouted talent and noted star players, the Prize Giving was awaited with excited anticipation.
Many congratulations to Thomas’s Fulham who were the overall winners of the festival, after successfully winning all their matches. Prizes were also given to individual players who particularly stood out to our talent spotters. Well done to James M from Cranleigh Prep, Ralph from The Roche, Senan from Ravenscourt Park Prep, Blake from Finton House and Tessa from Greenfields was given particular praise for being a superb all-rounded player and ‘good egg’, both on and off the pitch. It was a fantastic, memorable and very inclusive event; everybody taking part won a medal and a Chelsea skills ball, then each team, as well as the individual prize winners, had a photograph with Graeme Le Saux and Keith Harmes.