Brentford hosted a six-a-side Primary School competition at their training ground last week as the EFL’s partnership with Utilita was officially launched.
Schoolchildren from Rabbsfarm, Marlborough and St Anselm’s took part in the round-robin tournament with Wycombe Wanderers’ Adebayo Akinfenwa, Brentford’s Josh Clarke and Joe Hardy as well as Brentford Women’s Charlotte Tanner and Nicole Goolab offering coaching expertise.
The Kids Cup and Girls Cup are national six-a-side tournaments for U11 schoolchildren and U13 girls respectively with energy supplier Utilita becoming the official title partner for the competitions until at least the end of the 2022/23 season.
Over 22,000 schoolchildren take part in the competitions annually with each club organising a competition for all local schools to compete to represent them for a place in the national phases.
There they face schools representing other EFL clubs in order to establish the eventual divisional finalists to battle for the opportunity to play at Wembley.
The Girls Cup Final takes place before the Leasing.com Trophy Final while the Kids Cup Finals are held during the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals weekend.
On the tournaments, Adebayo Akinfenwa said: “Initiatives like the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup are brilliant.
“To give children the opportunity to play the game and have the ultimate reward of playing on the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium is a dream for many kids.”
Brentford Women’s player Nicole Goolab added: “It’s been great to be down here today coaching the teams and making it enjoyable for them to play football.
“I took part in a similar competition to the Utilita Kids & Girls Cup when I was younger and providing children with the chance to potentially play at Wembley is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Jem Maidment, Director of Marketing and Communications at Utilita said: “We are a big believer in grassroots football and this competition can only strengthen mental and physical wellbeing for schoolchildren across England and Wales – something we are very proud of.
“We would like to thank Brentford FC for providing the location for today’s event and to the EFL, for their continued support in what has been an exciting start to the partnership.”