Rolleston’s Foster Park was the venue for Selwyn’s United FC’s first-ever hosting of the South Island 10th Grade Football Festival last week. The event attracted more than 400 players and 39 teams and was spread over three days. Orga

Ten-year-olds have a ball

by Mike Isle

Selwyn United Football Club’s first-ever 10th Grade football festival event has been pronounced a success after the event attracted 400 players, 39 teams and dozens of support volunteers last weekend.

Club President, Darren Sudlow, said the three-day tournament, which is restricted to players 10 years old this year, drew teams from throughout the South Island, including from the tournament’s previous host region, Nelson.

Mr Sudlow said the goal of the tournament was to give young players the taste of what it feels like to play in a tournament, without putting the focus on competitiveness.

“For girls and boys of that age, it is more around giving them an opportunity for fun and experience, rather than winning being the end motivation.”

Over the course of the event, the 39 teams took part in a total of 121 games at the Selwyn’s main football venue Rolleston’s Foster Park.

The tournament was divided into three sections, including a girls’ section, and teams competed in round-robins, pool play and finals. The final was won by a Christchurch United team.

“Because of the large number of games, many of the club’s more senior junior-grade players were roped in as volunteers to referee some of the games, which was good experience for them,” Mr Sudlow said. Mr Sudlow believes the success of the tournament was due largely to the enthusiasm of the players and the support of the volunteers, and would likely be repeated. He said the club was also grateful for the support it received from the Selwyn District Council.

More than 400 girls and boys took part in a day of football and fun

Organisers emphasised participation over outright victory, but rivalry on the field led to some tight matches

Soccer skills are great for promoting coordination, confidence and teamwork — another reason to get involved

39 teams came together to compete, and all had their moments to shine during the tourney

Soccer — or football as it is known internationally — is still the number one ball sport on earth, with close to 1.1 billion fans

While a Christchurch United team took the top spot, hosts Selwyn United had the honour of organising a memorable even

Special thanks go out to all the referees, linespeople, parents, coaches and other support crew who made it all possible