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Liam Baker from Queens’ School Sports Academy in Bushey crowned winner of UK NIKE Chance football competition
A Bushey school boy is scoring his way to success after winning the UK NIKE Chance football competition.
Liam Baker, 17, was one of ten students entered by Queens’ School Sports Academy in Aldenham Road into the prestigious contest.
Since March 5, the students have put their football skills to the test by competing against thousands of entrants in a number of rounds for the contest.
After numbers where whittled down from about 5,000, to a hundred, to 50, to 28, Liam, who is studying for his BTEC in sport and exercise, has been selected as one of the three winners of the UK competition.
The striker said: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had been picked.
“All of us had just finished the trials and were watching the end of the Euros when I found out I had been chosen.
“It was really hard work, our fitness and skill was tested and we had to play matches.
“I didn’t think I’d make it through. I hoped, but competition was really stiff, I was surprised.”
David Reddington, head of the sports academy and Liam’s coach, believes his success is due to his speed on the pitch.
He said: “It’s great we managed to get ten of our students into the initial stages of the competition, but to have one win, well we’re very pleased and very proud, especially as Luke is only 17, the youngest you can be to enter.
“Luke is very quick on the pitch. He’s worked hard, he’s juggled his school work and trained hard for the contest. But we expect no less from our students.”
As part of the competition, contenders were given £1,500-worth of NIKE goods, but according to Liam there are still plenty more surprises in store – all of which are top secret.
The passionate football fan and Arsenal supporter said: “We haven’t been told everything that will be happening, but there are rumours of us going to Manchester and meeting Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
“For the next leg of the competition I will go to Barcelona, to the club’s training ground, and I understand Lionel Messi will be there.
“This will be for the global competition, so I will be playing against teenagers from all over the world, who have won for their country.
“I’m not nervous at the moment, more excited. It would be great to be a professional footballer, I wouldn’t mind being like my idol Andrés Iniesta, but you never know what the future holds. I’m just going to try my best for the next stage of the competition.”
The 16 overall winners, who could come from any country, will be given the chance to tour with the NIKE Academy as an “elite” football team, providing them with a platform to showcase their football talent.