Each season 72 EFL clubs run a tournament for their local schools, with the winners earning the chance to represent their club and play in their official colours, through various national stages on the road to Wembley.
The 72 winning schools are split into three divisions, in line with their club's league status, before being split into northern and southern groups. The winners of each of the northern and southern regional finals then qualifies to play at Wembley before their respective EFL Play-Off Final.
This year around 14,000 children aged under 11 are estimated to have taken part in the group stages of the competition.
Girls from Malcolm Arnold Academy will represent Northampton Town in the Utilita Girls Cup while Upton Meadows Primary School are the representatives in the Utilita Kids Cup. The girls are heading to Colchester on Friday 21st January to compete in the regional stages.
This year around 6,000 girls, aged under 13, are estimated to have taken part in the group stages of the competition.
Charlene Ward-Greef, Schools Manager, said: “To reach this stage the children have already won our local competition held at The University of Northampton, and they are now a step away from a once in a lifetime experience of playing at Wembley Stadium. It was a competitive day with some fantastic action from all 16 teams on show, Upton Meadows fully deserved the title and we are looking forward to seeing if they can progress further in the competition.”
Both the Utilita Kids Cup and its sister competition the Utilita Girls Cup are six-a-side competitions which are inspiring children to be active, healthy and develop a strong sense of teamwork.
The Kids and Girls Cup has engaged over 250,000 children since its inception in 2007 and has previously inspired the likes of Manchester United midfielder and Scotland international Scott McTominay and Crystal Palace midfielder Will Hughes who both represented their schools and got their first taste of Wembley success in the competition.
Ben Wright, Chief Commercial Officer of the EFL, said:
“The positive impact of EFL Clubs in their communities goes far beyond 90 minutes on the pitch and the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup is testament to that. EFL Clubs are in the heart of their communities and with 80% of people in England and Wales living within a 15-mile area of an EFL Club, they have the platform to inspire and make real positive and lasting change in society.”
Jem Maidment, Chief Marketing Officer at Utilita Energy said: “The EFL Kids and Girls Cup tournaments are one of the many ways that Utilita Energy supports British Football. Our State of Play report revealed the impact the pandemic had on football families, with 70 percent of parents saying their child’s physical and mental health had been affected without access to the game.
These two all-important schools tournaments will also be supported by our latest ‘Football Rebooted’ campaign, our mission to get one million pairs of good quality football boots back onto the pitch, whilst improving access for one in five families who struggle to afford all the kit needed for their children to play.”
To find out more, visit: efl.com/utilitakidscup