The national finals of the inaugural StreetGames Football Pools Fives took place at St. Georges Park, the FA’s state of the art national football centre, on the weekend of Saturday 3 / Sunday 4 August. The 16 teams which had earned a place at the finals were joined by former England defender Gareth Southgate and Olympic Bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton.
They were also joined by Man City Ladies player Kim Turner, broadcaster DJ Spoony, UK champion football freestyler John Whetton, former player Steve Claridge and Football League referee Keith Stroud. The programme has targeted thousands of young men and women from disadvantaged communities in its first year, with 16 teams of 160 competitors reaching this weekend’s final 5-a-side football tournament at The FA’s state of the art national football centre in Burton-Upon-Trent.
Former England defender and Aston Villa captain Southgate and Olympic medallist Sotherton put the men’s and women’s teams through their paces and cheered them on from the side-lines as they all competed for the winner’s trophy on the Wembley replica size indoor 3G pitch at St. George’s Park. Southgate said:
“This is the inaugural year of the StreetGames Football Pools Fives programme and it has been a resounding success. It has been clear to see that the young players have absolutely loved playing here at St. George’s Park – it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of them to play at the home of all England’s national football teams.”Two 5-a-side football teams, men and women teams respectively, were crowned champions as they represented their region in the National Final of the StreetGames Football Pools Fives at St. George’s Park.
Liam Sealey, from Deepdale La Coruna from Preston, winners of the men’s tournament: “It was that bit more special given I was the only one in the team who isn’t fasting for Ramadan so it’s amazing how well we did. “We could never have usually expected to even play at somewhere like St George’s Park and now, having won it, can take a lot of pride in ourselves away from the tournament. We also made a lot of friends from all around the country and got to see what the southerners are like compared to us! We’ll definitely try and make it back here next year.
” Centre Spots Sinead added: “There was a big feeling of relief as well as pride and excitement because the girls have worked so hard and everyone really deserves it.
“We have been on such a long journey to be here and to have it all end by winning the trophy is unbelievable, we’re all so happy. It’s important that young people get the chance to have a go in the sort of facilities St George’s Park and it was fantastic getting the chance to play there.”
Jane Ashworth OBE, Chief Executive of StreetGames, said: “The StreetGames Football Pools Fives regional programme has been a great success in its first year and the final was a fantastic experience for all the young people. The programme has engaged with more than 7000 young people already and will continue to encourage participation in years to come.”Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech PLC, owner of The Football Pools added: “We have been so pleased with how the programme has been received and the National Final at St. George’s Park has just been fantastic.
During this 90th Anniversary of the Football Pools, we are extremely proud of our ongoing commitment to Sport in this country and leaving a lasting legacy across the UK.”Regions.