More than a game

Carter: PL Primary Stars tournament is inspiring the next generation

By Mark Orlovac 9 Jul 2024
Danielle Carter, Premier League Primary Stars

England Lioness forward visits the Gtech Community Stadium to see young people from across England and Wales living out their dreams

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For the last 15 years, Danielle Carter has been at the top of the women's game.

In a glittering career with England, Arsenal, Reading, Brighton and now the London City Lionesses, Carter has won four FA Cups and three Women's Super League titles.

And recently, she saw how a new generation of footballers are being inspired to pursue a career in football when she visited Brentford FC's Gtech Community Stadium to watch the Premier League Primary Stars football tournament.

The event involved under-11 school teams from across England and Wales, representing their local clubs, wearing the first-team kit as well as walking out and playing at a Premier League stadium.

Here's what the event meant to her:

"This gets children playing and it helps with their development both on and off the pitch. We all know the power of football so it's fantastic that the Premier League create these initiatives which allow young kids to experience special days and learn as well.

"I wouldn't mind being a few years younger myself to participate! It's really good that youngsters have these opportunities, to play in stadiums, to play on nice pitches, with their friends. They're learning so much more than just football.

Premier League Primary Stars Football Tournament 2024 Danielle Carter composite

"I remember going to tournaments when I was younger but they were nothing like this. When you see the Premier League branding, it makes it more special. This brings it up a level, it feels really professional.

"It's got a great feel, the music, the parents, the spectators. It's all about having fun, which is the most important thing at this age. It's fantastic seeing youngsters enjoying themselves. I want to join in!

"These experiences will stay with the children for life. They're playing in front of a big crowd, it's crazy. It's these early memories that they'll be able to share with their friends and look back and say, 'I've done that.'

"Football helps with the development of winning and losing. It's part of life. The children are also learning about teamwork and about playing in front of people which they have probably never experienced.

"You get a taste of it, you start to think to yourself, 'I want this.' It plants the seeds when they're really young, this will be the foundation. I didn't want to be professional footballer when I was younger so days like this shows that it's possible.

"This tournament is massive for promoting girls' football. There's girls teams playing together and some girls are playing against the boys.

"Showing that there is a level playing field is not only for the players, it's also for the parents that come along to watch. It helps everyone realise that it doesn't make any difference if you're a boy or a girl, everyone can play football. At this stage, it's about skill and learning your trade.

"Wearing Premier League shirts and being in a big stadium, it gives them that feeling that they are good enough. Today will make them feel like superstars and it gives them a taste of what can come if they work hard. It raises aspirations. If I had this, it would have helped drive me even more.

"I'm nearing the end of my playing career but it's great to see that my generation and the generation before us has left the game in a much better position and a more open place for young girls to want to be professional footballers. These young players here will now carry the flag. That's the hope."

What is Premier League Primary Stars?
More than a game PL Primary Stars

Premier League Primary Stars is the Premier League's primary school education programme, using the appeal of football to support children to be active and develop essential life skills. It is available to every primary school in England and Wales, with over 19,000 schools engaged with the programme. More than 1.3million school sessions and events have already been delivered.

Funded by the Premier League, through the Premier League Charitable Fund, the programme has enabled over 68,000 teachers to use resources for English, PSHE, PE and Maths, to help children to be active and develop essential life skills. There are 650+ free resources available.

Currently 104 professional football club charities from the National League to the Premier League run in-classroom Premier League Primary Stars sessions in local schools, with over 18m attendances by primary school pupils.

To find out more about delivering the programme in your school, please visit plprimarystars.com.

More than a game

The "More than a game" campaign showcases the support the Premier League provides for communities and the wider game.

The Premier League has provided world-leading levels of investment into communities and football at all levels in England and Wales, with a £1.6billion contribution over three years, equating to 16 per cent of the League's total revenue.

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