After 10 regional heats of the inaugural Indesit National Mini Soccer Cup, hundreds of players were reduced to 20 teams who went to Wembley - and it was a day to remember...
"The lads have been up half the night – it’s been impossible to get them to sleep,” laughs Jason Clark, a coach with Sunderland-based youth team Washington AFC.
“But I guess if you were eight and you got to play at Wembley, you’d be bouncing off the walls too...”
It’s easy to see why. It’s a gloriously sunny November day at Wembley Stadium, and on the Powerleague five-a-side pitches in the shadow of Bobby Moore’s statue, the finest U8 and U10 teams in the UK have gathered to contest the first Indesit National Mini Soccer Cup finals.
There were 10 regional heats held during autumn, involving hundreds of players. Only the very best made it to north London to battle it out for the prize. And every one of the 20 sides (10 U8s and 10 U10s) enjoys a fantastic day. As well touring the famous stadium, including going into the changing rooms and on to the pitch, there’s plenty of food for the supporting families and each side is presented with superb new Puma kit.
“It’s unbelievable,” says Adel Mohammed, father of Faris, who plays for Bolton’s Tiki Taka Catalan. “I’ve never been to London, so taking my son here is wonderful. It’s like a little FA Cup, and the standard is fantastic.”
Every side is determined to be the first name on the Indesit National Mini Soccer Cup, and as we get underway, the quality is outstanding. Astonishing saves, volleyed goals, slick passing and great sportsmanship are all on display. But eventually, we’re whittled down to two finals.
The U8 endgame sees Bolton’s Tiki Taka Catalans face Treeton Terriers. With Robbie Lewins hitting a remarkable early goal and Kieran Hawley slotting home clinically, slick Treeton dominate. They get 4-1 up, and despite two late goals from Tiki Taka, cling on to win. “We’ve had an amazing time, and to win the Cup is fantastic,” says Kieran’s mum. “My husband coaches the side – maybe they’ll play next door in a few years!”
In the U10s, Bowburn Youth from North Shields overcome Manchester’s Lisbon Reds. Excellent play from Ben Parkinson is key: he scores twice to give Bowburn a 2-1 win. “It’s amazing to play here,” he says. And every player can agree on that: Indesit’s National Mini Soccer Cup made dreams come true.
Visit www.facebook.com/IndesitUk to see even more photos from the day.
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