Teams representing Peterborough United and Sheffield United will compete for the Kinder+Sport Football League Kids Cup at Wembley this afternoon.Before today’s Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off Final, 16 young footballers will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing on the hallowed turf as part of the Kinder+Sport Football League Kids Cup.
The competition, for both boys and girls aged under 11, is organised on behalf of The Football League by The Football League Trust. Each of the 72 Football League clubs run a tournament for their local schools, with the winners earning the right to represent their club and play in their colours on the road to Wembley.
The 72 teams are arranged into the three divisions and then split into Northern and Southern sections – with the two regional winners from each division playing at Wembley before the respective play-off final. Over 16,000 children took part in the group stages of the competition this season –the second successive year participation has grown.
The route to Wembley
Representing Peterborough United today will be Eye Church of England Primary School. They finished second in the group stages of Peterborough’s local competition, progressing onwards into the semi-final and final with some magnificent performances. Those results sent them through into the southern regional tournament and the right to play in the club’s colours. They progressed through a tough group stage to face Swindon Town in the semi-final, where they won 2-0.
In a thrilling final they met Burton Albion and, after going behind 1-0, they fought back to a find an equaliser with only seconds left to play. With nothing to separate the sides, it went down to penalties, and the Posh kids held their nerve to win 3-2 and seal their dream day at Wembley.
Wearing the red and white of Sheffield United today are Norton Free Primary School. Sheffield United’s local final was held at Bramall Lane before their first team match with Swindon Town. A pulsating game saw them run out 2-1 winners and earn the right to represent the Blades. They travelled to Crewe Alexandra to take part in the northern regional finals, finishing second in their group behind the hosts as both teams progressed into the semi-finals.
The Blades faced Blackpool next and, after a tense 1-1 draw, won their subsequent penalty shoot-out to reach the final and book another date with Crewe. A confident first-half performance saw the Sheffield United side take a 2-0 lead. Crewe scored early on in the second half to make it an extremely nervy end to the game, but a breakaway goal ensured the Blades’ Wembley dreams were realised.
Getting kids moving
The Football League Kids Cup, alongside the Girls Cup for under 13’s, is sponsored by Ferrero’s Kinder+Sport programme. Encouraging children to be physically active and embrace the joy of moving is one of Ferrero’s key aims and core corporate social responsibility principles, both in the UK and globally. The Kinder+Sport programme is designed to promote active lifestyles through dynamic play and sports among children and their families, and has reached 15 million children in 27 countries to date.
In the UK, Kinder+Sport includes a number of initiatives. The Kinder+Sport Move and Learn programme is a national, school-based education programme delivered in partnership with The Football League Trust that helps children learn about the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Ferrero also partners with The Football League Trust to deliver two more national competitions, the Kinder+Sport Futsal Cup for the under-16 age group, and the Kinder+Sport Challenge Cup for the under-18s group.
Both competitions encourage children to get involved with sport and physical activity, whilst giving them a unique opportunity to play at football stadiums. Overall, in the academic year 2015/16, Kinder+Sport together with The Football League Trust will reach more than 47,000 children, helping them to be more active and learn about the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Meet the teams:
Peterborough United — Eye Church of England Primary School
Hayden Brown (Capt)
George Whiteman (GK)
Sheffield United — Norton Free Primary School
Danny Church (Capt)
Ben Gaskell (GK)