Former Norwegian international goalkeeper Frode Grodås applauded his country's UEFA Grassroots Day celebrations for promoting "good and healthy values" after 115 schoolchildren enjoyed taking part in a five-a-side tournament.
Children from the Østensjø and Trasop schools were involved in the Football Association of Norway (NFF) organised event, which the NFF hopes will strengthen its ties with schools across the country. Ex-Lillestrøm SK and Chelsea FC player Grodås was keen to stress the benefits of the day.
"An event like this can inspire children while promoting good healthy values, a correct attitude to the game and mutual respect," he said. "That is in the interests of both the schools and the NFF. There are 400,000 boys and girls playing football in Norway, all of whom go to school. So we have a common interest in raising our children well."
The 46-year-old Grodås, who won 50 caps for Norway, works for the NFF as a development officer in its grassroots department, alongside his role as goalkeeping coach for the national team. He was particularly encouraged to see a small-sided brand of football played at the UEFA Grassroots Day event.
"Five-a-side is becoming more and more common. Hopefully we have seen the last of children not touching the ball in a game played on a pitch that is way too big for them. Football is about having fun and the level of fun for players rises the more they are involved in the game. That's why five-a-side is the way forward."
Headmaster at Østensjø School, Knut Erik Brædvang, added: "Togetherness and social interaction is the key thing. Children who don't usually spend much time with each other now have an arena to meet. This arena is quite different from what they are used to. Two schools meeting at an informal football event gives everyone home advantage."
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