KICKZ volunteers lead the way

The West Ham United Community Sports Trust KICKZ programme took the lead in running a competitive tournament for their peers at the Boleyn Ground.

A group of volunteers aged 16 to 18 were selected from each of the club's seven KICKZ projects to organise the event for younger participants taking part in scheme.

Under the guidance of KICKZ Co-ordinator John Wright, they took responsibility for all aspects of the event - inviting teams to compete, planning operational logistics and coaching and refereeing teams on the pitch.

The event saw Under-12 and Under-14 teams from Arsenal, Milwall and Reading compete alongside local Community Sports Trust partners Developing Minds and East Ham Rovers as around 140 youngsters lived out their dream of playing on the famous Boleyn Ground turf. While the teams from West Ham United may have dominated on the pitch, it was the contribution made the volunteers off it which made a more lasting impact.

The club's Kickz Project uses football as tool to motivate and empower young people from deprived areas. The scheme targets specific localities which have high rates of anti-social behaviour and successfully encourages young people to make positive life choices. The volunteers' attitude and organisational skills on the day were a clear demonstration of that understanding.

John Wright, Kickz co-ordinator, said: "The tournament gave young players the chance to not only play at a Premier League football ground but to integrate with other teams from different boroughs, which is a major part of breaking down potential barriers amongst young people. The volunteers who contributed to the event not only gave an outstanding account of themselves as individuals, but in doing so acted as positive role models for the younger participants engaged by the scheme."

Full results

Inter-Borough Under-12 Boyz Kickz Tournament
Final: West Ham United/Newham 0-0 Developing Minds FC (West Ham United /Newham win 5-4 on pens)

Inter-Borough Under-14 Boyz Kickz Tournament
Final: West Ham United/Tower Hamlets 4-1 Millwall Kickz