An Under-14s boys team from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Kickz Programme beat representative teams from football clubs up and down the country to claim the Kickz Cup at Pride Park, Derby, earlier this month.
As part of the award-winning national Kickz programme, the event saw young people from towns and cities across the country unite behind a Government anti-knife crime campaign, entitled, ‘It Doesn't Have to Happen'.
The team, which hails from the Kickz project based at Rushcroft School, Chingford, won through to the showpiece final having succeeded at the London regional finals held at Spurs Lodge in April.
In the national finals, the boys saw off competition from the likes of Manchester United and Aston Villa in their group, before a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over West Ham in the semi-finals.
They then took on hosts Derby County in the final, winning 1-0 thanks to a late goal.
Spurs also took an Under-12 team from Northumberland Park, Tottenham, to the tournament, but they were beaten at the semi-final stage by Fulham.
Nonetheless, the success of the day goes to show the unique sporting opportunities being created by the eight Kickz projects the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation is currently running throughout North East London.
Tottenham Hotspur Community Development Officer Trevor Duberry said: "Tottenham Hotspur Foundation are extremely proud to be associated with the Kickz programme and in particular by supporting the positive messages that are being delivered through the ‘It Doesn't Have to Happen' Campaign. The team spirit and sportsmanship qualities that were displayed by all the young people representing the various clubs, is a reflection of the impact the projects are having within the local communities across the country.
"The experience gained by these young people will no doubt stay with them for the rest of their lives and we continually strive to provide life-changing experiences through participation in the projects".
‘It Doesn't Have to Happen' was conceived by the Home Office and young people have contributed significantly to its development. It aims to give young people an understanding of the consequences of knife crime, encouraging them to ‘say no to knives' and have a positive influence on each other. Peer-to-peer messaging is an important part of the campaign, which has a dedicated website on Bebo: www.itdoesnthavetohappen.co.uk.
The Kickz programme, backed by the Football Foundation, Premier League and Metropolitan Police, has raised awareness of the campaign via 137 teams attending 12 high profile regional tournaments.
The impact of the tournaments has been excellent with thousands of young people taking part, pledging support to the campaign and taking part in hard hitting ‘Be Safe' workshops on the dangers of carrying weapons.