League hope after cup final thrillers go to pens

Thursday, 16th June — By Zakaria Taibi

London Football School Under-14s lift the Inclusion Cup

London Football School Under-14s lift the Inclusion Cup

ONE of the biggest success stories in the Camden and Islington Youth Football League (CIYFL) has been the introduction of inclusion matches, which were brought in by organisers in order to give all children – including those with ADHD or autism – the confidence to take part in the beautiful game, writes Zakaria Taibi.

The finale of the 2021/22 season last month saw London Football School (LFS) take on a side representing the league at the artificial pitches in Market Road in the Under-9s and Under-14s Inclusion Cup finals.

In the Under-14s match-up Oliver Shrimpling and Bobby Ruff both found the back of the net for CIYFL, while Evert Tyler and Joseph Dubois were on target for LFS as an entertaining showpiece finished 2-2.

Needing a shootout to settle the destination of the silverware, LFS keeper Max Rubinstein heroically saved four penalties, allowing teammate Isaac Quinn-Walker to score the winning kick as the Tufnell Park-based side sealed a 3-0 victory to lift the cup.

Runners-up at Market Road, Camden and Islington Youth Football League

The Under-9s final proved just as gripping, with goals by Noa Lacey for LFS and Christopher Russell-Moran for CIYFL lighting up a 1-1 draw. Again needing penalties to settle matters, Cade Pereira was the only player to convert from the spot as LFS picked up a delightful cup double.

After the games, league secretary Karen Greene, who started the CIYFL inclusion team three years ago and has been leading the initiative along with coach Aaron Pazo, said: “It was a fantastic atmosphere here at Market Road. We’re one big family and we welcome all children who want to get involved in the sport.

“It would be fantastic to have the inclusion matches expand and eventually have enough teams to make up leagues in various age groups, which will give every child the opportunity to play football.

Inclusion coach Aaron Pazo receives his ‘Appreciation Award’ from dad Mani

“So far the initiative has been incredibly successful due to the participation of not just the children, but also the parents. It also couldn’t be done without coach Aaron – his dedication to the development of the children is incredible. Without him it couldn’t exist.”

Recognised further for his continued contributions, Pazo was presented with the Camden and Islington Youth League Appreciation Award.

He said he was “shocked” after receiving the accolade from his dad Mani.

He added: “I was not expecting to receive anything at all. It’s very touching that the hard work that’s been put in has been rewarded.

“The last three years have been a very interesting journey in which a lot of players have developed not only as footballers but also as leaders and independent individuals as well.

“I would like to thank the league and our new sponsor Lura Construction Ltd for all of their support.”

CIYFL team training sessions take place every Saturday at Market Road from 10am to 12pm. For more information and to get involved, contact Karen on 07785 224 888.

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