Five local primary schools were invited by Leyton Orient Trust to take part, with over 50 children participating in the mini-matches. Teams were made up of girls and boys aged 8 and 9 years old.
Maria, Teacher, Whitefield Academy said: “The majority of students from our school are on the autistic spectrum. This is the first time we’re taking the primary school pupils to a tournament, but they were so excited to come down today. For them football at the moment is dribbling, learning how to pass, different positions and games, so to play against another school takes it to another level.”
“Usually autistic kids stay in their own world – they don’t like to share, but in football you have to share the ball. One girl today did really well today, she’s normally not very good at sharing, but we’ve been really impressed with how well she’s been passing the ball.”
Matteo, pupil, Whitefield Academy said: “I’ve tried to do my best in goal, but the green team just won. But I’ve been having fun though.”
James Court, Lead Development Coach at Leyton Orient Trust, said: “Events like this are a great opportunity for children to play football outside of the playground with pupils from other schools. Even though they play in matches, the day isn’t about the winning – it’s about the experience, and I hope everyone has enjoyed themselves today.”
At the end of the tournament, pupils were given Leyton Orient Football Club team posters.
The tournament was supported by a group of Level 2 Diploma in Sport Students from the Leyton Orient Trust College Study Programme who volunteered as referees.
Premier League Primary Stars uses the appeal of the Premier League and professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills. Available to every primary school in England and Wales, it inspires girls and boys aged 5-11 in the classroom, the playground and on the sports field.