Sunderland's St Benet’s RC Primary School to represent County Durham at Liverpool FC tournament
A Sunderland primary school football team is to play in a tournament at the Liverpool FC Academy to decide who is the best in the north of England.
The girls team from St Benet’s RC Primary on Fulwell Road won the County Cup, the county being the traditional County Durham, back in December in an exciting final against Rickleton Primary School, which was decided by a penalty shoot-out.
This means that they progress to the academy, training ground of Jordan Henderson and company, on Friday, March 17.
They are one of eight competing schools. The teams are made up from Years 5 and 6 pupils, ages nine to 11. Their matches use the seven-a-side format and St Benet’s squad of 10 will travel to Merseyside.
March 17 will be a long day for all involved. The squad sets off at 6am and returns the same day.
The format for the tournament begins with two groups of four teams. After the group stage there are semi-finals and a final. The two finalists will have played five games in one day. Each game lasts 14 minutes.
St Benet’s actively encourages girls to play football. Tom Rose, teacher and football coach at the school, is almost as excited as his players.
He said: “They won the Durham County Cup just before Christmas. They’re now in the Northern Finals, so they play teams from places like Northumberland, Carlisle, Manchester and all over at Liverpool’s academy.
"The northern champions will be decided.
“There’ll be eight teams there and the top two progress to the national finals. But we’re taking one step at a time at the minute. They’re absolutely buzzing.
“They’re a really good team. I don’t think when they won the County Cup that they saw it as a big deal. But when I told them we were going to the Northern Finals at Liverpool’s academy, that got them really excited.
“I always try to keep my feet on the floor. But then the closer it gets, I always become more excited because they’re a great team.
“Over the years we’ve had some very good players at this school. But this time we have not just really good individuals, but a really fine team who work really well together.”