Tricks and skills on show at Street Striker event

A Wayne Rooney inspired Street Striker competition set young pulses racing at Garstang Leisure Centre.

Wednesday, 9th January 2013, 3:52 pm

The youngsters competed for DVDs, T-shirts and medals, plus a signed England Futsal shirt for the winner, which organiser Gaz Elsdon received from England manager Pete Sturgess after a recent friendly tournament in Norway.

It was the forth time FunTime Football had run one of these events.

The competition had three rounds: The first was a dribbling and control round. Contestants had to chip the ball over a bench, lift the ball into a shopping trolley, chip and climb over four garden hedge and finish by flicking the ball through a car tyre. Will won this round with a blistering time of 30.12 seconds. Excellent speed and control!

The second round was all about accuracy and power, with a crossbar challenge. Each player had six balls to see how many times they could strike the crossbar. Nine-year-old Paul won round two, by hitting the crossbar three times.

The final round was a knock-out tournament. There were some very close games and video footage had to be consulted to ensure the decision was correct in one of the quarter-finals. Special shout-out goes to Will, John, Jerome, Mark, Mason and the overall winner Craig.

Gaz said: “These boys showed some slick skills and made it very difficult for each other. The FTF coaches and myself were blown away with the level of skills on show by the youngsters from in and around Garstang.

“I started the street soccer sessions in Garstang earlier this year and I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has come down and supported what we are trying to do.

“The improvements in some of the children are amazing to see, but from my point of view and more importantly they are all having fun playing football in a different and engaging way.

“I have watched coaching locally and seen children static and looking disinterested in what their coach is talking about, but the sessions we offer are fast paced and full of tricks and skills, which grassroots team managers often try to distance their players from.

“Street soccer is different, I’d rather see tricks and skills to a player who can smash a ball from 20 yards and hope it’s high enough that the goalkeeper can’t reach it.

“The children who attend our sessions realise this and know they are free to try skills and make mistakes which helps them learn and improve. We really do have a great bunch of children who come on a regular basis.