February 2013 witnessed the launch of the annual New Directions Education Football Cup (in association with Cardiff City FC Football in the Community team and sponsored by NPower). Primary schools from across South and West Wales were invited to take part to compete for the much sought after trophy.
Sketty Primary School were one of the first teams to play with a bid to defend their winners title for the third successive year. Howard Burge, Regional Manager for New Directions Education comments ‘This tournament is the very height of the education sporting calendar across Wales. Every year we get more and more teams entering the competition. With the current fever pitch attitudes to football in Wales at the moment the teams have really upped their game. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Cardiff City Football in the Community scheme, it really adds weight to the plight of the competition’.
The relationship between New Directions and Cardiff City has evolved over many years. The tournament was traditionally played The Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens. This year the event moved to the state-of-the-art premsises in the House of Sport indoor facility, which is also the training base for Cardiff City First Team. This fantastic environment has further encouraged the children taking place to feel what it is like to be a footballer for the day.
This year has witnessed record numbers of teams participating in the competition. An outstanding number of over 160 teams entered the competition to represent their local school. After a successful 2012 Olympics for the UK, sport is at the height of discussion within schools, and now with both Cardiff City and Swansea football clubs playing out success for Wales, football is also at the forefront of sport in schools. Initial feedback from all schools taking part in the competition is positive. School representatives believe that the close involvement and coordination of the Cardiff City Community Team has provided a professional footballing edge to the competition which has helped to inspire tomorrows next star.
New Directions Education play an important role within the education sector by providing recrutiment and training solutions to schools across Wales. The business operates from a network of branches in Swansea, Wrexham and Cardiff. The company has significantly grown in size over the last few years and this was underlined by the team being awarded as ‘Preferred Supplier’ status to the majority of Local Education Authorities throughout Wales. The New Directions team success has mirrored that of the Cardiff City Community Team involvement with schools across South Wales, during a booming time in the area for football.
Take a look at a video where Scott Young, Community and Education Foundation Manager for Cardiff City FC Community team yalks about the importance of the tournament. Gary Williams and Howard Burge from New Directions Education also offer comment about the most successful competition to date.
And follow the event as-it-happens on Twitter: