Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival to be staged at Whitton United once more
Whitton United will stage the KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival for a second successive season, writes Nick Garnham.
The festival, which Ipswich-based company KBB have agreed to sponsor for the next three years, will take place on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 at the King George V ground.
The two-day event will have a FIFA Women’s World Cup theme, with the free-to-enter festival for under-7s to under-16s taking place just under three weeks before the tournament kicks-off in France.
Ipswich Town FC have agreed to partner with Suffolk FA and the club’s Under-21 midfielder Paige Peake, who recently made her debut for England Under-17s, helped launch this year’s festival.
Members of Ipswich Town Women’s U21 side will hopefully attend on both days ahead of their showcase match versus Manchester United at Portman Road on the following Monday evening.
After confirming that long-time sponsors KBB will continue to support the festival for the next three years, director Roger Peck said: “We at KBB are delighted to be sponsoring the Grassroots Festival for another three years.
“I am so proud of the partnership both KBB and my family have developed with Suffolk FA and the Footballing community, and my staff and family look forward to the Festival every year.
“When I got involved with Suffolk FA I wanted a project that could be long-term and something we could develop together. The grassroots game was always something that I wanted to get behind, so when we came up with a festival theme, my aim for it was an event which was free to enter.
“This meant there would be no car parking or programme charge and for it to be a fun, safe and friendly environment.
“I had no idea it would develop into such a great success. The hard work put in by Suffolk FA and ourselves has meant we are reaching out to so many children participating in football each year with more and more teams entering.
“I make a point each year to stop and look around to see what we have achieved, how the event is running and how many people attended. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing so many people, with smiles on their faces, whether playing football or just enjoying the weekend.
“So with that in mind, it was very quick decision to say ‘yes’ to another three-year contract.”
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “We are really looking forward to delivering the 2019 KBB Grassroots festival, a highlight in our season and celebration of local grassroots football across Suffolk.
“This year’s festival will be our biggest yet with the introduction of walking football, more disability teams and more spaces for teams across mini-soccer and Youth age groups than ever before.”
PAIGE Peake said young girls should believe in their ability and work hard if they dream of emulating her achievement of playing for England.
The 16-year-old made her debut for England Under-17s in a 1-0 friendly defeat to France in Salou, Spain recently.
It followed on from the Ipswich Town U21 midfielder previously representing England at both U15 and U16 levels.
The Suffolk One student said: “It is quite surreal when you are away with England as you are so immersed in what you are doing. It only hits you when you get back.”
Paige, who first played for Ipswich Town U10s at the age of eight, is now hoping to be picked for a double-header versus the USA at Bisham Abbey in February.
Those matches will be followed by the Elite Round of qualifying in Hungary for this summer’s UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship involving the top eight teams.
The seven group winners will join hosts Bulgaria in the finals from May 5-17.
Paige said to any young girls aspiring to follow in her footsteps: “If you believe in yourself and work hard that is the first step. If you don’t believe in yourself no-one else will.”