Beacon plays host to national schools' football tournament

Beacon plays host to national schools' football tournament

Foundation of Light was proud to host the Regional Finals of the Premier League Primary Stars U11 National Girls tournament at the Beacon of Light.

Fulwell Junior School were given the chance to don the Sunderland AFC colours as they were joined by teams representing Carlisle United, Hartlepool United, Middlesbrough FC, and Newcastle United.

Sunderland AFC Women stars Natasha Fenton and Claudia Moan were on hand to cheer on the teams and present the awards, providing inspiration for the young players taking part.

On a day of inspiration for young women in sport, one of the referees for the event was Emily Brown, a graduate of the Foundation’s Football Scholarship and winner of the Inspiring Excellence Award at the 2023 Foundation of Light Gala Awards Dinner.

After defeat to Hartlepool, the Sunderland side scored a crucial 2-0 win in the Wear-Tyne Derby and drew with Middlesbrough to qualify for the semi-final.

It was a rematch with Hartlepool for the semi-final and unfortunately it was the visitors who came out on top, the Sunderland side bowing out after a fantastic effort in the tournament. 

Whinney Banks Primary School, representing Middlesbrough, defeated Hartlepool in a high-quality penalty shootout after a draw in the Final to take the title.

Following the tournament, the participants engaged in mental health awareness and STEM workshops at the Beacon.

On visiting the tournament, Claudia Moan, goalkeeper for SAFC Women, said: “It’s really good to see. When I was in primary, there wasn’t many girls playing. They’d be playing for the boys’ football team if anything.

“Now schools have got girls football teams. I think it’s a great realisation to see how big girls football is now, especially in the North East.”

Midfielder Natasha Fenton added: “It’s been great to see such high numbers of girls come to play football and play competitively as well.

“It seems like they’ve really enjoyed it today, so that was nice to see.

“The facility is really good. It gives people an opportunity and makes it open for everyone.

“We know that the Foundation does a lot of work for the community, and I think we’ve been able to see that today.

“I think the girls can see that there is that availability for the facilities, we’ve had an opportunity to come indoors, and it’s stopped the tournament from potentially being cancelled today.”

The Premier League trophy was also in attendance for photo opportunities

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