Gallery: Hundreds of young footballers enjoy KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich

A CARNIVAL atmosphere will surround the KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival this weekend. The World C

A CARNIVAL atmosphere will surround the KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival this weekend. The World Cup-themed festival is taking place at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich. U12 Ipswich Valley Rangers.

More than 1,500 youngsters, including at least 350 girls, took part in a football tournament in Ipswich designed to improve participation levels.

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A total of 140 teams gathered at Gainsborough Sports Centre at the weekend for the KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival, with plans being drawn up to repeat the extravaganza next year after organisers hailed it as a “massive success”.

It was the fourth time the event has been held but the first time it took place over two days.

On Saturday, the FA Girls’ Football Festival, in association with Continental Tyres, saw more than 350 girls taking part in the free programme aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game.

Watford Ladies players Kate Natkiel and Bonnie Horwood, as well as referee ambassador Lucy May and football freestyler Charlotte Lade, gave demonstrations.

The fun event combined football, lifestyle and music. It was led by FA approved coaches and activities included skills and drills, interactive games and mini-matches inside an inflatable pitch.

Saturday also featured the Suffolk FA Under-12 Girls’ Cup final, which saw Waveney Girls Vixens beat Belstead United 5-0.

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Meanwhile, Woodbridge Town defeated Kirkley & Pakefield Wildcats 8-0 in the Suffolk FA Under-11s Boys’ final on Sunday.

Suffolk FA football development manager Nathan French, who organised the festival, said: “The whole two days have been a massive success.

“The whole idea of Suffolk FA running the Grassroots Festival is to celebrate local football in the county and to create an environment which offers all players an enjoyable football experience.

“I believe this is what we have achieved over the two days, and we will be looking to repeat it as a two-day festival next year.”