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Youth Football: Barking Festival Cup to take place on Friday

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 November 2017

Barking academy director Mick O'Shea (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Barking academy director Mick O'Shea (pic: Terry Gilbert)

Archant

School teams from across the borough will descend on Barking’s Mayesbrook Park home on Friday for the Barking Festival Cup.

The competition will see 16 teams face off in six-a-side games, with squads consisting of 10 players from Year Four.

Tournament organisers are hoping that at least two to three members of each squad will be girls.

The teams will initially be split into four groups of four for the first stage of the tournament, before the knockout matches begin.

The top two from each group will qualify for the cup competition, while teams who finish third and fourth in their pool will also have something to play for.

The competition is the latest youth initiative run by Bositk North club Barking as they look to unearth stars from the borough.

Last month, the Blues agreed a player development deal with Premier League outfit Arsenal that could lead to some of the brightest talents from the area handed a chance with the Gunners.

And academy director Mick O’Shea hopes Friday’s event can identify some players who could one day link up with the north Londoners.

“We’ve liaised with the borough to invite all schools from across Barking & Dagenham to get involved in the event,” he said.

“Hopefully it serves as a good way to get even more youngsters to come along to our weekly sessions and learn through us.

“Our academy is strong, it attracts a lot of players from the local area, and it is a possible pathway to joining Arsenal.

“While the players are young, it has to be fun, but the link with Arsenal has created a real buzz about the club.”

Friday’s competition will be Barking’s latest event that is set to engage the whole community.

And with the club keen on recruiting players from the local area, O’Shea is aware how important it is for the Blues to engage with the people from the borough.

“The club is about the community and it is a place for youngster, their parents and even their grandparents to come down to,” he added.

Hopefully Friday’s event proves a success for all involved with Barking.

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