AFC Wimbledon are getting behind a junior school’s bid to play on the hallowed turf of Wembley as part of the Utilita Kids Cup competition.
Youngsters from Cheam Common Junior Academy will represent the club at the forthcoming regional stage of the competition after lifting the AFC Wimbledon Foundation Kids Cup.
A record 37 teams from Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton and Sutton took part in the tournament with Cheam Common edging out Battersea’s Thomas’s London Day School in the final.
They will now face a junior school side representing Peterborough United in the next round for a chance to reach the final of the national competition at Wembley.
AFC Wimbledon Foundation Coach Andy May said: “The AFC Wimbledon Foundation Kids Cup shows just how much our Foundation has grown.
“When we first started organising these events we had 20 schools with a waiting list, but we’ve managed to make the tournament bigger.
“The outreach we have as a Foundation can have a massive impact on the club at the same time – more kids may become AFC Wimbledon supporters.”
Wimbledon captain Will Nightingale and fellow defender Paul Kalambayi were also on hand to present medals to the winning school and sign autographs for the young supporters.
On the competition, Paul Kalambayi said: “This event shows the opportunities that the Foundation is giving to schools as they have a chance to get to Wembley.
“For year five and six pupils, it can offer an experience that they will cherish for years to come. It’s great that the club are running these events and it’s great to support it.”
Jamie Decruz, PE teacher at Cheam Common Junior Academy, added: “It’s a great event and we enter it every year because it’s fantastic for the kids to play against different teams from different boroughs.
“Clubs are community hubs for the local demographic and schools can really benefit from their local clubs, whether that’s through going there with friends and family on a Saturday, or being involved in community events like this. It’s really important.”