Egypt's littlest footballing stars will battle it out Victoria College this Saturday 6th December as the Cairo Youth Soccer League kicks off. We speak to Sherif Artisan, one of the coaches prepping his team for glory.
Football stars of tomorrow, take note! This weekend, children between the age of 5 and 14 will be competing for the biggest honours in youth football in Cairo. The Cairo Youth Soccer League (YSL) is hosting the year's biggest competition and children of different age groups have been practicing all season to grab the trophies. For the past 40 years the Cairo YSL has culminated in a big tournament, and this weekend it is time once again to celebrate Cairo's future football stars.
The YSL focuses on giving children a fun place to learn about football. Having fun, making friends and learning about the game and its spirit are the priority for the coaches who each mentor an age group inspired by an international football league. The Premier League therefore offers teams such as Manchester United and Chelsea FC while the Major League Soccer has teams such as LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls. This way, the budding players can look up to their big heroes, wear their shirts and win the games as their favourite team.
"The YSL equivalent in America is a huge deal," Sherif Artisan, coach of team LA Galaxy tells us. "We are trying to encourage interactive football, football for everyone." In Egypt, this happens at Cairo American College and Victoria College, however, the children playing come from a multitude of backgrounds. While most of them are from an expat background, it unites children in their love for football. Boys and girls from CAC, MBIS, BISC, AIS, El Alsson and DEO come to YSL to meet each other and make friends.
From 8am to 3pm on Saturday 6th December, the grounds of Victoria College are turning competitive as each "league" is looking for a winner in the otherwise pressure-free game environment. Who is the next big winner out there? We will soon find out...