Thursday 02 May 2013
Players from 40 primary school football teams will have the experience of a lifetime when they take part in the Premier League Schools Tournament Finals this month.
Twenty Under-11 mixed teams and the same number of Under-13 girls' teams will contest the trophy at Anfield Stadium on 9 May after coming through qualifying to win the right to represent their local Premier League club.
The 40 teams will sport their Premier League team's colours, use the Anfield dressing rooms and run on to the pitch to the tune of the Barclays Premier League anthem. Their matches on the Anfield turf will be refereed by Premier League match officials.
The Premier League Schools Tournament, which is in its eighth year, is divided into four five-team groups, from A to D in the Under-11 category and P to S in the U13 section. We are taking a closer look at the teams involved and how they qualified for the finals, continuing with Groups C and R.
U13 Winner: Congleton High School (Group C)
Congleton won all their six matches in the qualifying stages, scoring 42 goals and conceding just five. They continued that superb form with a 5-1 semi-final victory and a 4-0 success against Christchurch Academy in the final. This team is captained by England Under-15 midfielder Hollie Massey, who scored over 20 goals in qualifying and boasts midfielder Amy Rogers, who plays for Everton Ladies.
U11 Winner: Cheadle Primary School (Group R)
Cheadle Primary team came through a local stage that was open to all schools across Staffordshire. The team scored an impressive 31 goals during qualification, and, after a dramatic six-goal thriller in the final against Newcastle-under-Lyme ended all-sqaure, Cheadle held their nerve in the shootout, winning 3-2.
U13 Winner: Waingels College (Group C)
Waingels College took it to the wire in the final after beating off stiff competition. Their showdown against Beechwood School ended 2-2 in normal time but they found a winning goal in extra time. Waingels have been training hard ahead of their trip to Anfield and are hoping captain Megan Bonifacii can lead them to the title.
U11 Winner: Downsway Primary School (Group R)
Downsway progressed with an unbeaten record in the group stages of qualifying, before winning the semi-final 2-0 and edging a hard-fought final 1-0 to earn a spot in the area final at the Madejski Dome. The area final was another tight affair but a team including a number of academy and football development players overcame St Paul’s Catholic Primary School 3-2 on penalties to reach Anfield.
U13 Winner: Evelyn Grace School (Group C)
Evelyn Grace’s girls’ team have been playing together and training every Thursday for the last two years. That dedication and their big-game mentality was rewarded as they came through both the semi-finals and the final on penalties. The team’s sharp shooter Cristiana Afonso, known by the boys at school as "Lionel Messi", will be hoping to maintain the impressive form in front of goal that helped her side reach Anfield.
U11 Winner: Corpus Christi Primary School (Group R)
Corpus Christi will defend the 2012 Premier League Schools Tournament title they won at the Emirates Stadium last year. Adopting the same expansive style that paid dividends last year the west London school beat 21 other teams to win the Kingston regional tournament, before showing their ability in the grand finals. Corpus Christi scored 15 goals and conceded just twice in six matches to set up the opportunity to clinch back-to-back titles.
U13 Winner: Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls (Group C)
The school has a rich history of sporting success, including winning the County Football Cup five years in a row, being national finalists for all year groups in Futsal and achieving a runners-up finish in the U13 National Football Finals at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. The Romford-based school boasts several students who have represented Essex and one who has played for Arsenal and England U17s. Most of the U13 team play for clubs including Tigers, West Ham United and represent Essex.
U11 Winner: Ripple Primary School (Group R)
Ripple will be the first U11 side to represent West Ham United at the Premier League Schools Tournament since their return to the English top flight. The Barking and Dagenham-based school won the West Ham CST invitational tournament in February by beating Britannia Village Primary School 6-1 in the final. The school's year five and six mixed six-a-side and seven-a-side football teams lifted the Borough Cup this year and will be playing in a tournament at League Two club AFC Wimbledon as well as the London Youth Games at Crystal Palace this season.
U13 Winner: Wymondham High School (Group C)
Having played together since primary school the girls won all their U13 County Cup matches on their way to the semi-final. In PLST qualifying they scored 34 goals and conceded just twice, with Norwich City Girls Centre of Excellence starlet Aimee Palmer finishing top scorer. The final round went down to the last match with Wymondham taking the lead through Rebecca Russell only for Hellesdon High to level, but a point ensured they went through on goal difference.
U11 Winner: Woodlands Primary School (Group R)
The school beat 71 Norfolk rivals to earn the right to sport Norwich’s colours at Anfield. A squad of 16, including Toby Biglin, Jessica Hudson, Kayleigh Keeling, Jessica Kooi, Katie Kooi, Louisa Mavroudis, Emily Sandall and Matilda Seymour-Lewis, helped their side claim a 3-1 final victory in extra-time. Woodlands, who will be captained on the day by Ben Sayer, intend to disprove the notion that a solitary Magpie, their school symbol, is an unlucky one.
|Group A/P||Group B/Q||Group C/R||Group D/S|
|Wigan||Man City||West Ham||Sunderland|
2012 Emirates Stadium
Under-11 winners Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School (Fulham)
Under-13 winners St Peter’s Catholic High School (Wigan Athletic)
2011 Reebok Stadium
U11 Farnborough Road Junior School (Liverpool)
U13 Broughton Hall High School (Everton)
2010 Ewood Park
U11 Oakthorpe Primary School (Tottenham Hotspur)
U13 South Hunsley School (Hull City)
2009 Old Trafford
U11 Dorridge Junior School (Aston Villa)
U13 Durham Johnston Lower School (Newcastle United)
2008 Madjeski Stadium
U11 Ipsley Middle School (Aston Villa)
U13 Broughton Hall High School (Everton)
2007 Old Trafford
U11 St Jude’s C of E Primary (Portsmouth)
U13 St Joseph’s High School (Bolton Wanderers)
2006 The Valley
U11 Gomer Junior School from Gosport (Portsmouth)
Premierleague.com will update you with more on the schools representing the 20 clubs. You can follow news on Twitter with hashtag #plschools.