The Soccer Sevens is designed to welcome Year 6 primary school football teams from boroughs and counties a little further away, and to take part in an ‘Orient’ experience including tournament football; meeting an O’s squad member; tickets to watch the League One game at the Matchroom Stadium and one lucky member of each team getting onto the pitch at half time to take penalties against Theo the mascot!
A representative for the winning team on the day said, “This is our first year attending the Soccer 7’s and we’ve loved it. It’s well organised and the children really do enjoy the whole day. And the highlights are great; having a first team player present the certificates and getting one of our players onto the pitch. Superb. We’re so looking forward to coming back.”
There are three rounds per season whereby five schools attend and play each other on the Score 3G pitch opposite the West stand prior to a League One game with winners and best runner’s-up meeting on the final home-day of the season to play again and the victors crowned Soccer Sevens champions. The winning team also gets to parade the cup around the pitch during half time of the game.
Howard Gould, Club Liaison Officer, said, “The tournament has really progressed since its first year. We’ve introduced the player’s (Leyton Orient) getting involved as well as some half time activity; trying to give the teams and their parents a day to remember as ultimately, we want them to come back of their own accord.”
Paul Hyde, the ex-Orient goalkeeper, was around that day as coincidentally he had brought his own Year 6 school team up to watch the O’s battle Walsall and popped over to the 3G to see what it was all about. “I’m a PE teacher at Ashford school in Kent,” said Hydey, “and my team was always going on about who I played for so I thought I’d organise a trip to bring them to the O’s, a club I really loved playing for. The tournament looked great and on speaking to Howard, I’ve booked my lot in for the next round in January!”
The five schools participating that day were St. Andrew’s from Much Hadham in Hertfordshire, Shelley from Ongar, Epping from Epping, Howe Green House from Great Hallingbury, Essex and the winners, Loyola Prep from Buckhurst Hill.
All participants received a certificate from first team squad member Jack Sherratt and one player for each team was chosen to represent their teammates in a penalty shoot-out versus O’s mascot Theo the Wyvern during the half time interval of the O’s match.
The next round takes place on Saturday 26th October prior to the O’s taking on Rotherham, kick off at 12.15pm. Spectators welcome.