ROAD TO WEMBLEY STARTS FOR GIRLS FROM LOCAL SCHOOLS REPRESENTING Colchester United Community Foundation.
The unique opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium awaits for girls across England and Wales as the new 2023/24 season of the Utilita Girls Cup officially kicks off this month.
One of the country’s biggest national football competitions for schools, the Utilita Girls Cup competition will see more than 6,000 Under-13 girls representing local schools within the regions of the 72 EFL Clubs participate in competitive football this season.
Each EFL Club and their Club Community Organisation will invite local schools to participate, where they will aim to progress through Area and Regional phases of the competition.
The victorious teams from the north and south Finals then qualify to earn the right to represent their Club and play in their official colours at the 90,000-capacity national stadium before the EFL Trophy Final on April 7, 2024.
Last April’s Final saw Surbiton High School, representing AFC Wimbledon, defeat Trinity School (representing Carlisle United) to secure the 2022/23 Utilita Girls Cup in front of a boisterous crowd.
In the 2022/23 Utilita Cup, Paxman Academy represented Colchester United reaching the Regional Finals. This season, 10 local secondary schools are set to battle it out in the local competition in a bid to represent their school and Colchester United at the Regional Finals.
Luke Drysdale, Schools Funded Programmes Officer at Colchester United Community Foundation said “This is such a unique opportunity for Girls and Boys to represent their school and local club at the Girls Cup and Kids Cup respectively. We wish every team competing in the upcoming local tournament the best of luck and cannot wait to host some fantastic football”.
Both the Utilita Girls Cup and its sister competition, the Utilita Kids Cup, fosters boosts in confidence, engages young boys and girls to participate in team sport and encourages them to strive for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play on the hallowed turf of Wembley.
Since its inception in 2007, the Kids and Girls Cup has engaged over 350,000 children.
Participants from the Girls Cup who have gone onto reach the professional level at the Women’s Super League include Sam Tierney (Leicester City) and Miri Taylor (Liverpool). More recently, former Broadstone Middle School (representing AFC Bournemouth in 2013/14) graduates, Molly Pike and Kayla Rednell are now carving their top-flight careers at Southampton in the Women’s Championship.
Bill Bullen, Chief Executive Officer, at Utilita Energy, said: “It’s an honour to be involved and I’m delighted that Utilita’s support will enhance the opportunities available for thousands of schoolchildren in England and Wales.
“We want to help children reach or even exceed their footballing desires, whilst promoting the benefits of staying fit, and the disciplines and social skills that playing any sport can give them.”