The Premier League Primary Stars National Girls Football Tournament took place last week in Leeds.
More than 14,500 girls representing over 100 professional football clubs from across the football pyramid took part in the qualifying rounds, competing for a place in the tournament at Elland Road.
The day offered a unique experience for primary school girls to play in front of their peers, friends and family.
A thrilling tournament concluded with an intense final between Brighton & Hove Albion, represented by Goldstone Primary School, and Manchester United, represented by St Johns Catholic Primary School, with the Seagulls prevailing 1-0.
“I did not know what to expect, especially as other teams were playing so well," enthused Beatrice, who captained Brighton to the win.
"I was proud of my team and this will stay with us forever!”
One of the tournament hosts, broadcaster Anita Nneka Jones, spoke of the importance of providing opportunities like this.
“The key values of these programmes give these young people the confidence to go out and just express themselves on the football pitch," said Jones.
“Even if they do not end up working in football, it is something that they can take away from it into other fields in their lives.”
Ruby Sykes, Select Group Women’s Professional Game Referee, was among the PGMOL officials overseeing the tournament and recognises how it has progressed.
“Comparing this tournament to five years ago, the standard has become better, with more opportunities such as competitions and new clubs forming creating more possibilities for the girls,” added Sykes.
While Brighton won the tournament, there was also acclaim for Boston United, whose sporting behaviour won them the Fair Play award.
They were adjudged by the officials to have embraced the values of the tournament, including fairness and helping others.
Words by Mia Lazaro