Hundreds of children took part in a free fun day when a children’s football school celebrated its sixth year.
Woody’s Football Academy, set up by football freestyler Paul Wood in 2008, gives children the chance to play football for a team regardless of age, gender or ability.
Six years on and to commemorate the years of hard work, the academy hosted a fun day at Ashmole Academy in Cecil Road, Southgate.
Parents were able to watch their children play several games on a sun-drenched morning in Southgate.
Mr Wood says he is delighted by the success of the academy.
He said: “When I was travelling creating my documentary, I realised how many children have so few opportunities to just go and play football.
“In this country we are spoilt with the amount of supplies here and I spotted a niche to give all children the chance to play football no matter of their ability, age or gender.
“It’s all about inclusion and giving everyone a chance. Youth football is struggling in this country because of finances and facilities but we have been doing really well and we want to keep people interested.”
The academy runs weekly Saturday morning sessions, forming leagues amongst the members as opposed to different teams making up a league.
David Murray of Hertford Road, Enfield, who brought his son Jamie along for the first time said: “This is different to anything I have seen before. Usually you have children looking uninterested at some youth football but here the coaches are committed to helping the children have a good time.”
Jamie, eight, said that he enjoyed playing “for the fun of it” as matches took place frequently as well as skill based games.
An incessant parent nagging at their child on Sunday morning is a common occurrence but Mr Wood said that he has prevented this from happening at his league.
He said: “We have an area for parents to stand so they can watch their children but can’t shout out. Children can feel pressured when they hear lots of voices but when its just the coaches telling them what to do, they can improve.
“The fun day was trying to raise awareness that children can come and play regularly with lots of freedom. I hope that this type of league can be rolled out in other parts of London.”
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