LOYOLA PREP CATHOLIC BOYS SCHOOL from Buckhurst Hill became the fourth different winner of the Schools Soccer Sevens tournament when they remained unbeaten to come top of the league in the round-robin format competition.
Having already come through their group stage last September with four wins out of four, they once again proved too strong for their rivals by winning three and drawing one of their games in the Finals round held on the Score 3G pitch opposite the Matchroom stadium.
“This was our first season entering so to come away winners is particularly satisfying. We found both the group stage and finals day extremely well organised, and all the staff were very helpful and friendly. The standard of play on both days was very high.” said Ollie Morah, teacher and team coach. “The tournament is a great idea as most of our boys don’t manage to get to see live league football let alone meet a player and to have the opportunity to parade around the pitch, which was a great thrill for them. We’ve had a tremendous day and congratulations to Orient for providing such a great opportunity. We are really looking forward to taking part again next season”.
O’s midfielder Marvin Bartley popped over to present all participants with a certificate as well as medals for the runners-up and trophies to the winners and then was on hand again to re-present the trophy in front of the crowd at half time during the game against Tranmere Rovers prior to the boys lap of honour.
Player Hasan Mohsin, aged 10, sent an email the following day. Here it is in full. “On 26th April the Loyola under 11 football travelled to Leyton Orient nervously for the finals of the Soccer 7’s Tournament. We played a school called Northgate and as a team we felt rather scared. One of their players threw the ball so far that they nearly scored a goal from it. Then, after that we began to win all of our games and our feeling became more positive as we progressed. In the end we actually won the tournament and we all got our own trophy which really made us feel proud of ourselves. The best part was yet to come though. As we had won, we were invited to the match straight after and at half time were to do a lap of honour. The whole crowd applauded us and it felt absolutely fantastic. We held up our trophies and Harry, our goalkeeper got to take a penalty in front of the crowd against another keeper. He scored and we cheered for him. It was a great strike. After the match we all went home, feeling brilliant after a gruelling tournament. It was a great day for all of us”.
The tournament idea was spawned just over five years ago by school teacher and fervent O’s supporter Colin Williams who noticed that most of his pupils at St. Andrews school in Hertfordshire had never even heard of the club! After chatting to Matt Porter, it was decided to trial a competition inviting schools from the M11 corridor to play in the shadow of the stadium followed by watching the first team in action.
“We’ve now just concluded the fifth successful year and have seen over 25 school teams taking part,” said Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer and tournament facilitator, “and have even stretched into Kent such has been the interest. It’s an exciting day for those involved and hopefully a long-lasting, positive experience that will encourage future support for the club from the children and a return to watching the O’s live by the adults!”
If you would like more information on the Soccer Sevens or any other other school initiatives run by the club, please contact Howard on 0208 556 5973 or email [email protected]