Cranleigh Prep hosted their U9 football festival in association with the Chelsea FC Foundation for the third consecutive year on Friday. Former England and Chelsea footballer, Graeme Le Saux, was once again the star of the day.
The school was buzzing with excitement when the ex-Premier League defender, who was capped 37 times for his country, arrived to set up for the event, along with coaches from the Chelsea FC Foundation. Sixteen teams of excited footballers took part, with seven local teams (Cranleigh Prep, Cranleigh Primary School, Greenfields, Holy Trinity Guildford, Park Mead and Wonersh & Shamley Green Primary x 2) as well as eight from London schools (Eaton House the Manor boys, Finton House, Fulham Prep x 2, Garden House, Parsons Green Prep, Ravenscourt Park Prep, The Roche and Thomas’s Fulham).
The day started with a question and answer session with Graeme Le Saux in the School’s chapel, where they were entertained with stories of his career with the Blackburn Rovers and Southampton, as well as Chelsea and England.
After fish and chips in the School’s Dining Room, Keith Harmes from the Chelsea FC Foundation explained the rules of the festival before the players headed down to the pitches and training areas. It was a gloriously sunny day for the third year running and the school’s grounds were shown off to perfection.
The tournament was played on a round robin basis, with the winners on each pitch going forward to fight for the accolade of being festival champions. Each team took part in technical workshops with the Chelsea coaches in between matches, with some accompanied by Graeme Le Saux at the skills station where they were taught ball skills and set some fun challenges.
With a coach from the Premier League positioned on each pitch, Le Saux, Tom Bird (U10 boys’ coach) and Keith Harmes (U17 girls) noted and scouted the talented best players.
Cranleigh Prep were the overall winners of the festival this year, winningall their matches and only conceding one goal. Prizes were also handed out to individuals from Eaton House the Manor, Fulham Prep, Holy Trinity Guildford, Park Mead and Thomas’s Fulham who were picked out by our talent spotters..
William Mackenzie, from Parsons Green Prep, said:
“This is definitely the best tournament we go to all year. It is brilliantly organised, the grounds are amazing and our pupils have a wonderful time playing football at an exciting event that is not just about winning.”
Everyone was awarded a medal and given a Chelsea sports’ bag to take home, as well as having a photograph with Graeme Le Saux and Keith Harmes.