Trabzon hosts fourth Grassroots Festival
© LOC

In partnership with sponsors Ülker, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) staged the fourth event of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Grassroots Festival in Trabzon this Friday. The Festival follows a mini-World Cup concept and will take in all seven host cities of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.

Sponsored by Ülker, this latest festival, which is organised to provide an opportunity for children to play football as part of the competition's grassroots activities, was staged in the Haluk Ulusoy Facilities within the Trabzonspor Football Academy. Turkey and Trabzonspor goalkeeper Onur Recep Kıvrak also participated in the event, along with his Brazilian team-mate Alanzinho.  

Getting together with approximately 100 children who took part in the event, Onur and Alanzinho were happy to answer the questions of their young fans. Onur gave advice for the future of these fledgling football hopefuls, who gave the pros a very warm reception. “Being a goalkeeper is a difficult job, but I'd be happy to see you following in my footsteps. I was 16 when I started to train with a goalkeeping coach. When playing for the amateur side, we had no such opportunity," said Onur.

I maintain my reflexes by training but I believe that normally you're born with 90 per cent of your reflexes
Onur Recep Kivrak, Trabzonspor goalkeeper gives advice to the children attending the event

"So you’re luckier than me. You have the chance to work with a goalkeeping coach starting right from the junior team. I maintain my reflexes by training but I believe that normally you're born with 90 per cent of your reflexes. The remaining ten per cent can be gained by practising” he added.  

The two players also had their photo taken with the children involved in the event, as well as the official mascot of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Under the framework of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Grassroots Festival, coordinators selected a total of 1,700 12-year-old children and put them in teams in association with the Directorate of National Education. These teams are now competing against each other on specially designed pitches, where players have the chance to show off their skills and participate in coordination-training exercises.

Furthermore, the children who earn the highest Fair Play ratings during the events will participate in the Turkey 2013 opening ceremony in Kadir Has Stadium on 21 June.

Sponsored by Ülker, the project will continue with further festivals each Friday during May in the tournament’s other host cities: Bursa, Istanbul and Rize.