Last updated on October 21st, 2023 at 09:09 AM
The Utilita Kids Cup and Utilita Girls Cup seven-a-side competitions will see around 2,500 local schools, linked to the regions of the 72 EFL Clubs participate in competitive football tournaments this season.
Each school aims to progress through the Area and Regional phases of the competition to earn the right to represent EFL Clubs regionally and play in their official colours.
Respective winners will then proceed to national finals played before the EFL Trophy Final, Championship, League One and League Two Play-Off Finals at Wembley.
Trevor Birch, Chief Executive Officer at the EFL, said: “It’s fantastic to see the support from EFL Clubs and their Community Organisations to deliver the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup and epitomize the role that football plays in local communities.
“Since the inception of the Kids and Girls Cup and previous formats, over 350,000 children have taken part with many of them developing a lifelong love for football. I’d like to thank Utilita for their ongoing commitment and help to deliver these tournaments and continuing to inspire schoolchildren.”
Alongside the Kids and Girls Cups, Utilita’s Football Rebooted movement is a testament to supporting football at all levels, encouraging people to donate used boots they no longer need or have grown out of, and redistributing them to pupils, local children, or community groups in need of a pair, free of charge.
Bill Bullen, Chief Executive Officer at Utilita Energy, said: “Here we go – another season of the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup competitions has begun and, as always, I’m ecstatic to watch the journey unfold.
“We, Utilita, are renowned for supporting the Beautiful Game at every level, with a particular focus on grassroots communities and providing opportunities to aspiring youngsters.
“Good luck to all those involved – I wonder who will have what it takes to reach the finals on the hallowed turf?”
The competitions have been the springboard for many graduates of the program, including Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and Crystal Palace’s Will Hughes, plus Sam Tierney (Leicester City) and Miri Taylor (Liverpool) who are now in the Women’s Super League.
The 2023/24 competition was launched with former professional footballers Izzy Christiansen, Clinton Morrison and Glenn Murray at the Barnsley FC Academy facility, next to Barnsley’s Oakwell Stadium.
Izzy, Clinton and Glenn were on hand to witness the first round of qualifying in the Barnsley region for the Utilita Girls Cup competition, offering a memorable experience for the next generation of football talent.
Izzy Christiansen said: “We’ve seen a huge increase in the support of the Lionesses since the Euros and the most recent World Cup, and to see that translate into big numbers at a grassroots level is really special. Clinton, Glenn and I saw some fantastic talent on show at Barnsley.”
Clinton Morrison said: “It’s every child’s dream to one day play at Wembley and to know that the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup competitions can help them potentially live that out is amazing.
That journey starts today and who knows, we might be seeing the next Izzy Christiansen or Glenn Murray one day.”
Glenn Murray said: “The Utilita Kids and Girls Cups are more than just competitions. They foster confidence, engage young children to be active, healthy and develop a strong sense of teamwork.”