Girls close to playing on English football's biggest stage.
Girls from Shoebury High School have reached the penultimate stage of an exciting national football competition - the Kinder+Sport Football League Girls Cup - and are now just one step away from playing at Wembley Stadium.
With only eight teams now left in the competition the Girls will represent Southend United at the Southern regional final.
The competition, which is organised on behalf of The Football League by The Football League Trust, has a unique format. Each of the 72 Football League clubs run a competition for their local schools, with the winners representing their club and playing in their colours, through various stages on the road to Wembley.
Over 6,000 girls, aged under 13, took part in the group stages of the Kinder+Sport Football League Girls Cup - an increase of more than 1000 from last year. The 72 winners than took part took part in eight Area Finals in January with winners progressing to the regional finals. The Southern area final will be held on February 9th Feb at Reading and Southend United’s girls will play against teams representing, Cardiff City, Colchester, and Brentford.
Mike Evans, Director of Operations at The Football League Trust, comments “To reach this stage the girls have already won Southend United’s local competition and then beat off stiff competition to win their area final against schools representing other clubs in the area. The girls are now just one step away from Wembley, competing against only three other teams, with a once in a lifetime experience within their grasp. However, perhaps the most important outcome is that the competition is encouraging so many girls to be active at an early age.”
A Ferrero spokesperson said, “We are delighted to be supporting The Football League Kids and Girls Cup competitions, to get children across the country involved with and excited about playing sport and getting active as part of our wider Kinder+ Sport activity. At Ferrero we believe that active children are more likely to grow into active adults, and so we are passionate about inspiring future generations to embrace physical exercise, and gain a sense of joy from living an active and healthy life which we to achieve through the Kinder + Sport programme..
Led by clubs in their regions, the tournaments provide children with a truly unique opportunity to be exposed to the world of professional sport, and we hope that they are inspired to remain active following this."
Drew Barrand, Marketing Director of The Football League said, “These competitions really show how Football League clubs connect and engage with their local communities. The Kinder+Sport Football League Kids and Girls Cup use that connection, along with the chance to play on a national stage at Wembley, to drive participation as part of The Football League’s ongoing commitment to grassroots football.”
Ferrero are also sponsoring the Football League Kids Cup Competition which is a six-a-side competition for children under 11, and sees the 72 clubs split into 3 divisions, in line with club's divisional status, before being again split into two groups, north and south. The winners of the divisional northern and southern finals then qualify for the chance to play at Wembley before the Sky Bet Football League Play-Off Final of the relevant division.