Last weekend 160 children took part in a football festival of fun. The USW Grassroots Festival took place on Leeds Road playing fields and organiser Jordan Stead says it was a huge success. 

The festival was created to give those children who haven’t been able to get into juniors first and second teams a chance to take part in a competition that had some structure. 

Jordan explained how and why the festival was created and said: “Myself, Jonny Pearson and Huzaifah Bismillah are currently studying a football coaching course in the Community Foundation Degree through the University of South Wales, in conjunction with the Huddersfield Town Foundation. This is distanced learning and we’re all from Huddersfield. 

“As part of one of our modules we were tasked to plan, deliver and evaluate an event. Our original plan was to help create an event that would help support a better connection between the Town Foundation and local grassroots clubs. However, the Town Foundation didn’t feel they could support us within the timeframe we had set out. 

“It was Jonny, who is involved at White Rose, that highlighted a disparity in opportunities for development teams in tournament football in the Huddersfield League. It was at this point that we decided we’d pursue a festival for the beginner/development teams at grassroots clubs.” 

Speaking about the day itself, Jordan added: “The day at Leeds Road Sports Complex turned out to be a really great day, thankfully the weather stayed dry and sunny for the duration. This was the main concern in our planning stage.

“Our other concern was that we’d be having to do a lot of crowd control and keeping the children occupied when not playing games. We would really like to highlight that the children, coaches and parents’ behaviour was impeccable on the day. 

“The regular comments when you speak to anyone about coaching children are generally negative towards parents and coaches that are overzealous. The attendees completely smashed that perception.” 

In terms of the festival format it went as follows: 

There were 16 teams in four groups. The teams all went to quarter-final (QF) stages with the teams finishing 1st and 2nds playing each other at this stage and then 3rd and 4ths having a chance to stay in the competition and win it via a knockout.

All teams reached a quarter final with organisers feeling it would give the children a real psychological boost knowing they could win the trophy even after losing a game. 

On how the games went Jordan said: “We had a lot of tight games and several of the knockout stages went down to penalties, one ending 13-12. 

“The overall Under 8 USW Grassroots Development Festival winners 2022 were Brighouse Delta and Crossley Colts.

“The key takeaway from the event was that we managed to put a lot of smiles on the children’s faces this weekend. As I said previously a lot of the tournaments now are aimed at younger age groups ‘1st and 2nd’ or ‘A and B’ teams.

“We felt this undervalues the opportunity for development for all – which from a personal point of view should come first at the very foundation phase of football.

“We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped support the day and essentially made the day happen, we couldn’t have done it alone. A special mention to the KAL team at Leeds Road Sports Complex for being supportive in hosting the event, too.

“We will be looking to host further events for different age groups in the near future and if anyone is interested feel free to get in touch.” 

If you want to get involved contact:

Here are some photos taken on the day.