The chance to play at Wembley is a dream for any footballer and so with that prize up for grabs, it is no surprise that primary schools up and down the country jump at the chance of participating in the National League Trust’s junior football tournament, as the eventual winners play a north v south of England final on the hallowed Wembley turf prior to the National League play-off final in May.
Each club in the National League is asked to organise their own local U11’s tournaments, one for girls only and one for boys (although girls can be selected too), and the winning school then goes on to represent that club at area and regional events culminating in representing not just their local club but also the north or south of England and battling it out in the prestigious final.
Over 20 schools across four boroughs were involved over two weekends in the Leyton Orient local competitions held during November and Redbridge came out on top as both representatives will come from that London borough. Aldersbrook school will be taking part in the area finals for the girl’s competition whilst Churchfields will take part once again – getting so close last year but losing out to Dagenham & Redbridge in the regional semi-finals- in the boy’s/mixed tournament.
Howard Gould, Leyton Orient Community Liaison Officer, said, “We’re grateful to the EFL and NLT as there is no other competition with a prize like this for children of this age. It’s a fantastic opportunity as some primary school children will do what most professionals only dream of…play at Wembley! And we [Leyton Orient] were lucky enough to win the equivalent trophy in 2014 so I know dreams do come true! We wish both schools the best of luck and hope that we can emulate Chase Lane, that winning school of five years ago”.