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Grassroots party sees ‘Thailand’ triumph

Football West News

Youngsters representing ‘Team Thailand’ were all smiles in WA this week after they came out on top of a goal-laden, four-team tournament.

The event was part of the annual AFC Grassroots Day, which celebrates football right across the Asian Football Confederation.

Around 30 players involved in the Perth-based Edmund Rice Glory program aged between six and 17 were involved in the carnival at Butterworth Park in Koondoola.

And there was no shortage of excitement, with around 40 goals banged in.

It was also great to see so many of the older players helping the little ones improve their game, while all who took part received wrist bands and Smarter Than Smoking water bottles.

The Edmund Rice Glory program is a park-based community participation program aimed at disadvantaged youngsters from low socio-economic areas who are not yet ready for clubs but still have a passion for the game.

 Football West Inclusive Participation Officers Gordon Duus and Elmi Ali were in attendance and Duus said: “The parks program in Koondoola with Edmund Rice Glory was a perfect way to commemorate the AFC Grassroots Day.

“The local demographics are strongly weighted with first and second generation Asian background families and that showed with the diverse group of children who enjoyed their participation in the event.

“When we brought together all of the age groups usually active at the program the harmony shone through as older players helped smaller players get time on the ball and even score goals. Everyone left with a smile.”

AFC Grassroots Day began in 2013 and a record 38 member countries got involved last year. Activities in India alone in 2017 attracted 40,000 participants while in China 30,000 people took part.