SCHOOL teams from Teignbridge played their first set of fixtures in a pioneering new league and cup competition recently.
The Teignbridge Schools League is run by Arsenal Soccer Schools and is the first of its kind to be affiliated to the FA and a Premier League team.
A dozen teams took part in the most recent set of fixtures involving combined sides of Years Five and Six pupils for the Doel Cup – a league cup competition.
Teams were split into three groups of four, and each played three games on the 3G pitch at Ashburton last Monday, November 26.
Another set of fixtures is due to be played in March next year, with teams then seeded in the finals during the summer term.
Originally a knock-out competition, Arsenal Soccer Schools changed it to a participation-based competition with the emphasis on game time.
The same philosophy has been applied to a league for 10 teams of Year Three and Four pupils, the first set of which were held earlier last month.
The league is non-competitive league where children earn points by showing the referee a good understanding of the Arsenal philosophy of Attitude – Respect – Skills – Energy – New thinking – All for one – Learning. Teams are awarded 3 points for excellent understanding, 2 points for good understanding, 1 point for average understanding and 0 points for no understanding.
This is aimed at showing children how football should be played and that winning is not everything.
Mark Titchard, Arsenal's regional manager said: "It's so important that school children have the opportunity to express and be creative while playing football. Mass participation for all is something, we at Arsenal are very passionate about allowing children the freedom to play in safe, professional and structured environments and the school leagues are a prime example of our practice, we are already looking to the next round of fixtures in March."