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“Some people don’t get as much games as us here or their games get called off and we struggle to get a pitch; here we get to play.” Tom Taylor, age 8, from Burntwood Dragons who picked up the card 'I enjoy playing'


Within moments of joining over 60 children at Staffordshire FA’s Under 8s football festival, the reason why young players enjoy tournament football started to become a lot clearer.


What was most recognisable was the sense of excitement in the air, evidence of which was everywhere you looked. The players excitement was infectious and, as one coach said to me later that day, it was “a different level of excitement” than what would be on show on a regular Sunday league meeting.


Perfect then for a bit of an experiment. In the middle of the pitch, we set out a number of cue cards with a selection of phrases all of which are potential answers to the question: Why do you enjoy football tournaments?


Players were then invited to join us and choose a card they felt was most appropriate to them and to chat to us about why they picked that particular card.


The opportunity to play guaranteed football, as well as to play against new and different teams, became a recurring theme that many of the young players we spoke to recounted through the course of the day.


It is something that Burntwood Dragons coach Andy Taylor outlined when he spoke to us after the tournament:


“For me it has been brilliant because it has given us the opportunity to play teams we don’t normally meet,” he explained.


“We play the same four or five teams every week so it has been really good today to come across teams we have never met before and get a change.


“As well as that, the different styles and different philosophies give the boys a chance to play a new group of lads and hopefully show their skills and what they can do.”


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