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12 December 2019

For the fourth year running London Youth’s Woodrow High House played host to the Jack Petchey Woodrow Cup 5-aside football festival. For the first time, the teams solely comprised girls and young women, hoping to build on the momentum of the Lionesses’ World Cup run during the summer.

To start the weekend, after settling into their rooms and a welcome dinner, the Woodrow instructors led some group games of hide and seek in the dark, helping the teams to get to know each other and providing a unique way to get to know their new surroundings. 

On Saturday, with the girls eager to play, several of them engaged in an impromptu kick-about against a local boys under-14 team, an excellent example demonstrating how football can bring people together. The action-packed day officially began with outdoor activities aimed at building teamwork and communication. A series of team tasks over the challenge course, including the tunnels, traverse wall and cargo net, requiring physical effort coupled with creative thinking and communication to conquer the obstacles. That was followed by a chance to test their head for heights and encourage each other up the Jacob’s Ladder, working together to try and overcome the ever-increasing gaps between the rungs and reach the top. 

After a hearty lunch and a chance to warm up and dry off, the afternoon started with a skills school delivered by Watford Community Sport and Education Trust. The female coaches acted as excellent role models to the girls and young women taking part in the weekend. The coaches led a series of sessions which focused on a variety of football skills, including shooting, team play and creating space. This was followed by small matches involving mixed teams, giving the girls a chance to apply the skills from the previous session and combine them with the communication skills developed in the morning. The Watford CSE coaches were really impressed with the attitude of the girls noting that they were extremely supportive of each other and there was a high level of engagement between the different organisations. 

Sunday thankfully bought better weather as we entered the business end of the weekend, with medals and trophies on the line. After 10 closely fought group games we entered the knockout stages and a hotly contested final was played out between two teams from Big Kid Foundation, with Big Kid Foundation Blue emerging victorious on the day in a close contest. Head coach of Big Kid Foundation Marina was impressed with the attitude of all the teams noting ‘all of the girls were able to come together and enjoy sport in an encouraging positive atmosphere.’

From all of us, I’d like to say a massive thanks to the Jack Petchey Foundation for their generous support of London Youth’s sports events and to the teams at Woodrow High House and Watford Community Education Trust for ensuring the delivery of the event was a success. Thanks also to the organisations themselves for contributing to a positive weekend. Michael Williams Watford CSE Kicks project officer added ‘Overall we felt the Woodrow Cup 2019 was a success, it was well organised event which catered to needs of all those in attendance and we would like to continue to support this event moving forwards.’

– Andy Staples, Sports Development Officer


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