Preston North End Manager Backs Five-a-Side Team

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Team Won National Competition Last Year

A Preston five-a-side football team who won a national competition last year were rewarded with a VIP trip to see Preston North End play this week.

 

The special matchday visit to Preston’s Deepdale home was organised by club partner The Football Pools. The players from five-a-side team Deepdale La Coruna were treated to a private tour of the stadium prior to the match against Peterborough before enjoying a three-course meal and a post-match meeting with manager Simon Grayson.

 

Deepdale La Coruna’s players were victorious in last year’s StreetGames Football Pools Fives – a national football programme created to use the power of football to enhance the lives of young people in disadvantaged areas.  The team’s victory  at The FA’s St George’s Park last August was made all the more remarkable given that all but one member of the team was fasting for Ramadan.

 

Following the VIP treatment at their home-town club, team member Aamir Toorawa confirmed they will be returning to defend their crown in 2014.

 

“We certainly want to come back and defend our title,” he said.

 

“It was an incredible experience last year; we entered the tournament for some fun, but through the StreetGames Football Pools Fives we ended up experiencing so much more.

 

“We are just a bunch of lads from Preston who, as a result of getting to the National Final and winning, have been to St George’s Park, visited the House of Commons with Gareth Southgate and have now met the Preston North End manager. Those experiences have all come from being involved in the programme and to receive words of encouragement from people like Gareth Southgate and Simon Grayson is really inspiring.

 

“It has certainly brought us closer together as a team too. Fingers crossed we achieve some success this year and hopefully competing again for a second year allows us to involve some of our newer players.”

 

Speaking after the Peterborough match, Preston manager Grayson had high praise for the programme. He said: “Any grassroots scheme that can reach young people is definitely valuable to football in this country. It’s fantastic to see The Football Pools, who have so much heritage in football, joining forces with a charity like StreetGames. Programmes like the StreetGames Football.

 

Pools Fives are vital in making sure that sporting opportunities reach both young men and women across the UK.

“The lads were a very nice bunch and good on them for representing Preston and coming away with a national title. It was a pleasure to have them at Deepdale and hopefully they enjoyed the game.”

 

The StreetGames Football Pools Fives programme is now entering its second year after a hugely successful first season which saw tournaments in 12 cities in the UK reaching over 13,000 young people, before 16 teams and 160 competitors progressed to the final at St George’s Park.

 

Another 12 regional festivals are being held across the country again this year before the National Final returns to The FA’s national football centre, St George’s Park, on September 27th and 28th.

 

Jane Ashworth OBE, Chief Executive of StreetGames, said: “This is another great example of how important The Football Pools are to the on-going success of this programme. It’s wonderful to see, six months on from their triumph at St George’s Park, that the StreetGames Football Pools Fives is still having an impact on their lives.

 

Having given so much support to the programme already it’s fantastic that The Football Pools have given the team another dream day out.

 

“I wish them luck for their title defence which kick off in a few weeks’ time in Manchester.”

 

Ian Penrose, CEO of Sportech PLC, owner of The Football Pools added:  “We have been so pleased with how the inaugural year of the programme was received and the National Final at St. George’s Park was just fantastic. The boys from Preston performed fantastically and we are delighted that they will return this season to defend their title. We are extremely proud of the ongoing commitment of The Football Pools to Sport in this country and leaving a lasting legacy across the UK.”

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