Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Tokyo: The Japan Football Association held two grassroots festivals last weekend at the Best Amenity Stadium in Saga and Kanko Stadium in Okayama.
A total of 175 teams consisting of 2,050 children and 2,900 parents took part in the festivals carried out by 120 staff members with volunteers from local university clubs, futsal clubs and high schools lending their hand to make the events a success.
The Saga (Prefectural) Football Association and Okayama (Prefectural) Football Association operated the festivals on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The activities were held over morning and afternoon sessions.
A light-and-easy football tournament was held consisting of 10-minute, eight-a-side games and each team played three games. The tournament was not scored and ranked and the referees often needed flexibility to command the kids who used light-weight size 3 match balls during their activities.
The kids were entertained by costumed character mascots of the J1 and J2-Leagues and also freestyle football players who sang the ‘Nintama Rantaro’ song, a popular hit among children.
“The young participants had been looking forward to participate in the events for a long time and came festival time, they enjoyed playing football with their friends to the fullest,” said Tetsuro Fukuda of Japan FA.
“They hoped to continue to play football every day and some of them even dreamed to be famous football players such as Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda in the future.”
“Also all 47 prefectural football associations undertake more than 300 JFA Kids’ Soccer Festivals a year. Additionally a countless number of ‘circuit coaching’ at nurseries and kindergartens is organised by associations’ coaches all over Japan.”
The next event will be held in Osaka on January 26 next year which will be live streaming broadcast.
The events augur well with the theme of the AFC Grassroots Year 2013 which is being celebrated by AFC Member Associations.