PwC was delighted to come on board once again in 2017 and support the 43rd Jersey Primary Football Festival over the Easter break. It took place from Sunday 9 to Friday 14 April, and is the longest running of its kind in the British Isles, with the first one having being held way back in 1974. This year, teams with parents and coaches travelled from across the UK to take part in football matches and team-building activities during the Easter school holidays.
The festival has long been regarded as the pinnacle of under 11 football and has an important role to play in developing the aspirations of the Island’s young players. Every primary school on the Island is involved in primary school football, so we’re looking at a figure of about 700 children to start with, all of whom have an opportunity to trial for the festival over the months leading up to the event. It’s a great achievement for those local children selected to represent Jersey and follows the culmination of practice and hard work during the inter-school league programme.
About 285 children, parents and coaches alike gathered at FB Fields to kick off the festival on the Sunday morning and this year’s crop of Jersey’s rising stars trained very hard as they faced some of the highly talented teams visiting from Barking & Dagenham, Erdington & Saltley, Gloucester, Hackney, Newbury, Orpington, Plymouth, Potters Bar, St Albans, Thurrock and Wokingham. In addition to our local Jersey teams taking part (which includes an U10 team this year too), that actually brought the total number of teams involved up to 18, so there'll definitely was no shortage of new friendships formed again this year!
Of course it’s not just about the victories. Mark James, Partner at PwC CI commented: “We see the festival as a great example of the quality of work done in youth sport on the Island and it’s fantastic for Jersey’s reputation as a tourism and sporting destination, as well as for the children participating. It’s encouraging to see them playing well, enjoying their games and making new friends. We’re also proud to play a small part helping to embed the right behaviours and attitudes in the young football stars of the future, whilst highlighting some of the excellent work being done in junior football here in Jersey.”
He added, “We’re really enjoyed witnessing how all these young and energetic football enthusiasts developed their sporting talent, as well as their self-confidence and teamwork skills, during the week-long festival.” Festival organiser, Pat Cullinane, added: “We are immensely grateful for the support from PwC. The event is more than just a football festival for the children attending. Each year, they also go on outings and activities in the afternoons. This builds their confidence and gives them opportunities to make new connections and forge new friendships with other teams that last long after they return home.