Former England and Arsenal legend and role model within women’s football, Kelly Smith opened her own Special Cruyff Court at the Queensmead House School in Windsor England today.
The opening ceremony was held as part of the Space to Shine campaign, which seeks to encourage girls and women to play at Cruyff Courts and practise sports. Susila Cruyff, Cruyff Foundation board member and daughter to Johan Cruyff, also attended the event via video call.
The theme of today’s initiative, held on the eve of the opening game of the UEFA Women’s EURO, was ‘girls & women within sports’. During the course of the ceremony, a kids’ press conference took place on the pitch, whilst the school pupils were given the chance to ask Smith and Susila their questions before taking to the pitch to play in a football tournament.
In reference to the opening of the new facility, Smith commented: “I’m really honoured to have received this invitation from the Johan Cruyff Foundation to open a Special Cruyff Court that bears my name. It’s very exciting to see how this new facility will help children to play sports in a space that encapsulates everything that is central to the values of sport: respect, integration and team spirit. It’s really emotional and touching to be offering these children this opportunity.”
Susila Cruyff, boardmember and daughter of Johan Cruyff, added: “We at the Cruyff Foundation are really pleased to be opening this new safe space, which pays tribute to Kelly Smith, a true icon within women’s football. She represents our mission in general but specifically can encourage girls and women to enjoy sports at Cruyff Courts or elsewhere. This is the message we want to share today, on the eve of the start of the Women’s UEFA EURO football tournament, as we seek for women to occupy their rightful place in football. In our efforts to achieve that objective, we have to help them to fulfil their dreams from a very young age.”
The Special Cruyff Court Kelly Smith at Queensmead House School is dedicated to children with additional learning needs. This school is part of The Witherslack Group: the leading provider in the UK of specialist education and care for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs, communication difficulties (autistic spectrum disorder; Asperger’s Syndrome; speech, language and communication needs), ADHD and complex learning needs.