Jade Inspires Over 100 Girls to Learn and Play

Two years ago, Jade Elliot became the first ever female to join the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme. Jade’s efforts have since inspired over 100 other girls to follow suit as women’s involvement in sport continues grow.

At the age of 17 Jade, from Clayton Brook, near Chorley, became the first girl to hold down a place with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, in an otherwise all male team on the Futsal and Education programme.

She explains that being the only girl was an obstacle she had to overcome to do something she loves.

 “It was hard at first being the only girl as I had no one to talk to. I faced a lot of barriers but didn’t let anything stop me and eventually the barriers were broken down. I always use the quote ‘Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Since Jade started the course, there are now 16 girls playing on the male programme, and last year a girls only programme was introduced with approximately 85 female players taking part.

She continued: “I’m very proud to of been the first girl on the programme as it opened up massive pathways for females in my area. There are more opportunities for girls in sport now than ever before. It’s great to see the figures continually growing.”

Jade’s interest in sport began when she was inspired by her older sister Jasmine, who was a goalkeeper for England’s U-18 national team.

From the age of eight, Jade played at grassroots level for Euxton Girls and moved onto playing at academy level for Blackburn Rovers from U-10’s to U14’s. After this, she shifted her focus to futsal and coaching.

Whilst on the course, Jade sparked an interest in coaching after she was influenced by her then coaches Darren Finch and Chris McGrail, a former professional footballer for Preston North End. She has since completed her FA Level 1 coaching badge and has almost finished her Level 2.

 “ I really wanted to get into coaching after watching them [Darren and Chris] and their different styles. The have both helped me with my badges and after completing my FA level 2 coaching badge, I am hoping to move on to get my UEFA B next year.”

Aside from her studies, Jade has been the driving force in helping to involve more young people on the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust NCS Programme and is involved in volunteering to help deliver football coaching to young players in the community.

 “For me, right now, there’s nothing better than coaching. Helping with the grassroots game at the moment is great as it’s like I’m giving something back from where I came from.”

Looking to the future, after recently completing the Futsal and Education programme and achieving top grades, she hopes to develop even further down the coaching route from grassroots all the way to elite level.

She concluded: “At the moment I want to continue coaching within the community and working on the NCS programme. My dream is to one day be involved in the England Women’s national team set up as a coach.”

To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme visit – www.efltrust.com/futsal/

Blades over 50’s win the EFL Trust Walking Football Cup 2017

Sheffield United took the first trophy of the EFL season by winning the 2017 EFL Trust Walking Football Cup.  A stunning strike from Blades’ Paul Stacey saw Sheffield beat Kidderminster Harriers 1-0, in a pulsating final after a thrilling day of walking football.

In the impressive surroundings of Aston Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground, 12 teams from around the country came together to contest in the finals. To reach this stage, finalists had already won their local competition which was held by over 70 EFL and conference clubs.

The competition gives players the opportunity to represent their club, wearing official club colours in the regional finals, with the winners and runners up progressing to Saturday’s national finals.

Year after year, the competition is growing in stature with an increase in participation. Over 1,500 men and women from a record breaking 200 teams have taken part this year – a 17% increase from last year.

EFL Trust’s Walking Football Cup organiser Aiden Couch commented, “Walking Football has grown enormously over the last few years and we’ve had more men and women take part this year than ever before.

“ Once you get to 50 the opportunities to take part in competitive sport really decreases and so people tend to become inactive, which can create numerous health problems. The Walking Football Cup is one way EFL clubs and their community trusts are tackling this issue.

“A survey completed during last year’s competition showed that 82% of participants believe their physical health has improved by playing walking football, with 79% of those competing in last year’s competition saying their level of exercise has increased.”

The closely fought group stages

Reigning champions Blackpool looked on course to retain their title going unbeaten through the group stages and topping group two.  Behind them the contest for second spot and a place in the semi-final was wide open with Colchester, Notts County, Luton Town and Cheltenham separated by just one point going into the final group game.  Colchester’s fifth draw of the day against Bradford saw them finish the tournament unbeaten on five points but out of contention.  With Cheltenham playing Blackpool and County and Luton playing each other, a win for any team would put them in pole position.  With both games finishing 0-0, it was Luton who progressed on goal difference by just one goal.

Group One was just as close; eventual winners Sheffield United got off to a slow start losing to 2015 champions Plymouth Argyle.  Whilst the Blades went from strength to strength that proved to be the Green Army’s only win. Going into the last round of group fixtures Blackburn Rovers, Dagenham and Redbridge, Sheffield United and Kidderminster Harriers could all qualify for the semi-finals – with intriguingly Blackburn playing Kidderminster and Sheffield United playing the Daggers.  The Blades quickly went into a 2-0 lead whilst the Rovers, Kidderminster game was incredibly tight and could have gone either way. Eventually the game finished 1-1 which meant the Harriers edged out Rovers by just a point.

Semi Final Drama

Sheffield United faced Luton in the semi-final and this time more clinical finishing saw them take a 2-0 win. The other semi-final between Kidderminster and reigning champions Blackpool proved to be dramatic. After a cagey game finished 0-0, it opened up in extra time with Blackpool creating a string of chances, which the Harriers gallantly defended to set up a suspenseful penalty shoot out. Amazingly, the first 14 penalties were all converted before the Kidderminster keeper pulled off a brave save – only for the Blackpool stopper to cancel out the advantage with a spectacular save.  The champions’ reign ended however, in the next round of penalties when Kidderminster cooly slotted home to take them to the final.

Legends raise awareness of prostate cancer

Before the final, a team of Aston Villa legends including Ian Taylor, Shaun Teale and Bryan Small took on a PCUK (Prostate Cancer UK) team featuring former Stoke, Notts County and Southend striker Dave Regis. Although the Villa team ran out 3-1 winners, the game proved a vital opportunity to raise awareness of prostate cancer which is a key issue for men aged over 50.

The Blades Victorious

The eagerly anticipated 2017 Walking Football Final between Sheffield United and Kidderminster Harriers was incredibly close, with hardly anything to chose between them having previously drawn 0-0 in the group stages. It was Paul Stacey’s stunning strike that separated the teams in the end and sealed victory on the day for Sheffield United.

2017 Walking Football Cup Final

Proving that you’re never too old, on Saturday 12 teams of men and women aged over 50 will go for glory in the EFL Trust Walking Football Cup Finals. 

The competition, which takes place in the impressive surroundings of Aston Villa’s training ground,  is  growing in stature with an increase of participation year on year.  Over 1,500 men and women from a record breaking 200 teams have taken part in this year’s competition – a 17% increase in teams from last year.   To reach this stage, the 12 teams have already won their local competition which was held by EFL and conference clubs across the country.  This gave the opportunity to represent their club, wearing official club colours in the regional finals, with the winners and runners up progressing to Saturday’s final.

The slow-paced version of the beautiful game, aimed specifically at the over 50s, has grown enormously over the last few years with proven health and social benefits of its participants. A survey completed during last year’s competition showed that 82% of participants believe their physical health has improved by playing walking football, with 79% of those competing in last year’s competition saying their level of exercise has increased.

Karen, a participant from Coventry City’s Walking Football team said: ”I used to play football and decided that I still wanted to be involved in some way, but as you get older it’s hard as you’re not as fast and fit anymore. So when I noticed that Coventry City had a Walking Football team I had to go down and play!

”I think it’s great for fitness as well as the social benefits. The great thing about Walking Football is you’re still playing the same sport and doing the same things, moving, tackling and shooting. It’s just a little bit slower!”

Mike Evans, Director of  Operations at the EFL Trust commented: “The Walking Football Cup Final is a key event in the EFL Trust calendar and is now into its third year.  We recognise the social and health benefits the game has for participants and want to use the power of professional clubs to help grow the game.  The cup provides ‘healthy competition’ in every sense of the word. It’s a chance to represent your local club, wear the club badge and play against league clubs”.

The group stages of this year’s competition were once again hotly contested but a special mention must go to Blackpool FC and Plymouth Argyle. In 2015, the teams met in the first ever EFL Trust Walking Football Cup final which the Green Army won in extra time.  Whilst last year, the teams met at the semi- final stage with Blackpool gaining revenge on the way to the title.

With both teams qualifying again,  will we see part three of their rivalry today or will someone else break their stranglehold on the title?

Continuing on from last year’s final, a Legends Game will kick off at 1.30pm which will see an EFL team take on its charity partner Prostate Cancer UK, with a number of ex-pros on the team sheets pitting Villa stalwarts Shaun Teale, Ian Taylor and Bryan Small, against ex-Birmingham City players Michael Johnson and Dave Regis.

A huge thank you to all the ex-players for supporting our event today.

Here are the 12 finalists:

Blackpool FC (Walking Football Champions 2016)

Blackburn Rovers

Bradford City

Cheltenham Town

Colchester United

Dagenham & Redbridge

Gillingham FC

Kidderminster Harriers

Luton Town

Notts County

Plymouth Argyle (Walking Football Cup Champions 2015)

Sheffield United

Move & Learn programme helps over 54,000 children get active

Accrington Stanley are one of 26 EFL clubs who run the Kinder+Sport Move & Learn project, a school-based educational programme for children aged between 9-10 that has been developed by the EFL Trust and Ferrero.

Over 54,000 children have got active through the project that combines six weeks of practical sporting sessions with classroom sessions, encourages physical activity, promotes nutritional education and builds awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and active lifestyle.

Accrington Stanley First Team player Billy Kee, who is also the Trust’s Health Ambassador said “It’s vital that we educate children from a young age on a healthy diet and encourage an active lifestyle. The Kinder +Sport Move and Learn Project is a really fun and interactive project engaging thousands of children each year. I’m extremely proud to be able to support such an important programme”.

Over the course of six weeks, children from year 5 classes spend 45 minutes in the classroom learning about the body, nutrition and the importance of exercise, through participating in interactive activities. The second half of the 90 minute session is dedicated to playing football, dodgeball or handball, with two weeks spent on each sport.

Mike Evans, Director of Operations at the EFL Trust said: “We’ve been working with Ferrero for three years now and seeing the programme go from strength to strength is incredible. The power of sport and the club badge allows our network of community trusts to deliver key messages, such as tackling obesity, to reach out to the wider community. This investment in helping to get future generations living well is invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work with Ferrero and our own network.”

To find out more about the work of Accrington Stanley Community Trust visit: http://www.stanleytrust.co.uk/

WATCH: The Kids Cup Wembley Experience

The Championship and League Two Kids Cup Finals of the 2016/17 campaign took place last weekend as school children represented their local football clubs at Wembley.

Each of the 72 EFL clubs hosted a competition for their local schools where the winners earned the right to represent their club, play in their team colours and compete to win silverware.

More than 16,000 budding young footballers have taken part in this season’s six a side competition, with the hope to play at the national stadium in front of thousands of supporters.

The competition’s objective is to inspire children to be active, healthy and develop a strong sense of teamwork.

Watch the ‘behind the scenes’ videos below to see the youngsters live their dreams of representing their local football clubs at Wembley.

 

Championship Final: Derby County (Etwall Primary School) v Ipswich Town (Cedarwood Primary School)

League Two: Carlisle United (Newlaithes Junior School) v Wycombe Wanderers (Trevelyan Middle School)

Kinder + Sport

The Kinder+Sport programme is designed to promote active lifestyles through dynamic play and sports among children and their families, and has reached more than 4.1 million children in 25 countries to date.

In the UK, Kinder+Sport includes a number of initiatives. The Kinder+Sport Move and Learn is a national, school-based education programme delivered in partnership with the EFL Trust that helps children learn about the importance of a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Over six weeks, children spend nine hours participating in a range of sports and learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Ferrero also partners with the EFL Trust to deliver the Kinder+Sport Futsal Cup for the U16 age group, which also encourages children to get involved in sport and physical activity.

Overall, in the academic year 2016/17, Kinder+Sport, together with the EFL Trust, will have reached more than 60,000 children, helping them to be more active and learn about the benefits of an active lifestyle.