Plans to repeat two-day football celebration

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Plans are already being drawn up to repeat the KBB Suffolk Football Association (FA) Grassroots Festival as a two-day event after it was hailed as a massive success by the organisers.

A total of 140 teams from around the county, featuring 1,500 players aged from 
under-7 to under-16, took part in the festival over the weekend.

This year’s festival, which was held at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich, was the fourth to be held — and the first to take place over two days.

On Saturday, the FA Girls’ Football Festival — in association with Continental Tyres — visited and more than 350 girls took part in the free programme aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game.

Watford Ladies players Kate Natkiel and Bonnie Horwood, as well as referee ambassador Lucy May and football freestyler Charlotte Lade gave demonstrations.

The format of the day was fun and active, combining football, lifestyle and music.

The festival was led by FA-approved coaches and activities included skills and drills, interactive games (target shots, speed cage, batak boards) and mini matches inside an inflatable pitch

Saturday also featured the Suffolk FA Under-12 Girls’ Cup final, which saw Waveney Girls Vixens beat Belstead United 5-0.

The Suffolk FA Under-11s Boys’ final on Sunday saw Woodbridge Town defeat Kirkley and Pakefield Wildcats 8-0.

Both finals were sponsored by Days Sports and Woodbridge’s win meant they completed a clean sweep in the county, after also winning the Under-15 Minor Cup and Under-16 competitions.

Suffolk FA football development manager Nathan French, who organised the festival, said: “The whole two days have been a massive success.

“The whole idea of Suffolk FA running the Grassroots Festival is to celebrate local football in the county and to create an environment which offers all players an enjoyable football experience.

“I believe this is what we have achieved over the two days, and we will be looking to repeat it as a two-day festival next year.”