EFL Kids Cup finalists in safe hands at Rovers

Blackburn Rovers goalkeepers David Raya and Jayson Leutwiler offered their support to the club’s EFL Kids Cup finalists Whitefield Primary by hosting a special hour long training session with the school.

The training session, which was held on the 4G surface at Priory Academy in Penwortham, Preston, was in preparation for the regional finals of the competition next month.

Raya and Leutwiler held a variety of different sessions including passing, dribbling and of course, their speciality, goalkeeping, for the primary schools young shot stoppers.

The children finished off with a mini game between themselves, which provided Raya and Leutwiler the opportunity to observe and offer any advice leading up to Whitefield’s EFL Kids Cup showdown in March at Wigan Athletic’s Robin Park Arena.

A win for Whitefield and Rovers will see the South Ribble based primary school don the famous blue and white jersey at Wembley Stadium in May in the EFL Kids Cup final ahead of the League One Play-Off final.

Leutwiler, who lives less than a mile away from Whitefield, hopes they can go all the way and reach the EFL Kids Cup final at the home of English football.

“We were there to offer advice and help Whitefield prepare for their matches coming up,” admitted the Canadian international.

“They all seemed to enjoy the training session we put on and straight away we could tell how much they love football.

“They are now playing for a chance to reach Wembley and I am sure it will be a dream come true for them if they can go all the way. I really hope they do well and I wish them all the best in the regional finals.”

To find out more information about the EFL Kids Cup visit: www.efltrust.com/kidscup/

Charlton Athletic mark Football v Homophobia Month with unique training session

Charlton Athletic’s management team took time out of their EFL League One promotion race on Thursday [22nd February 2018] to run a one-off training session for Charlton Athletic Community Trust Invicta FC. 

CACT Invicta FC are the first LGBTQI+ friendly team to be affiliated to a professional football club, as a part of February’s Football v Homophobia Month of Action.

Demonstrating Charlton’s commitment to supporting CACT Invicta’s aims to raise awareness of LGBT issues and tackle homophobia, CAFC First Team Manager Karl Robinson was joined by his Assistant Lee Bowyer and First Team Coach/Club Captain Johnnie Jackson.

The trio put the team through their paces with a punishing session at the Club’s Sparrows Lane training ground in New Eltham during a chilly lunchtime.

CACT Invicta FC is open to all players, regardless of their background. In their inaugural season in Charlton’s colours, Invicta are sitting top of the London Unity League, 6 points clear, with 4 games to play.

CACT Invicta Player/Manager Gary Ginnaw reflected on the nature of the ground breaking work his team were undertaking saying: “All we want to do is come down, play football, work hard and be successful.

“Hopefully we will have something to look back on in years to come that we achieved together and made a difference.”

Football v Homophobia is a grassroots campaign that exists to challenge discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.

Charlton Athletic dedicated their home game against Oxford at the beginning of February to tackling homophobia, the second annual themed match-day of this kind at The Valley.

Speaking at the event, CACT Chief Executive Officer Jason Morgan MBE spoke about how Charlton Athletic has always led the way in fighting discrimination: ”There are certainly echoes of the work we undertook to combat racism in football back in the 1990’s. Those projects were picked up and taken to a national level.

”Similarly, it’s now great to see other clubs across the country now affiliating LGBTQI+ friendly teams and taking positive steps to promote inclusion and supporting this within club and community projects.”


To find out more about Football v Homophobia visit: www.footballvhomophobia.com/

Ex EFL Trust Futsal and Education graduate represents England

Alex Turfrey, a former Leeds United Foundation EFL Trust Futsal scholar, is a prime example of how the programme can open up life changing opportunities and experiences.

Not only did he make his England Futsal debut in December last year, but he also became a national champion as he helped his side win the Four Nations Tournament in Edinburgh.

The 21-year-old joined another student at Leeds United Foundation, Joe Kenny, in representing the national team in futsal.

He said: “It’s an honour to represent my country – I’m so happy to have made my family and friends proud.

“There’s so much I’ve learned already and the experience has been incredible. I feel it’s only going to make me develop even further being in a team full of experienced and talented players.”

Alex, who describes himself as an ‘Andrea Pirlo’ type of futsal player playing in the ‘back man’ role, believes if it wasn’t for the programme at Leeds United Foundation he may have never found out about his underlying talent in the sport.

He continued: “I first found out about the EFL Trust Futsal games programme at Leeds United when a friend I knew was going for a trial and he asked me if I wanted to go.

“I went and as soon as I started playing, that was it, I was hooked.

“If it wasn’t for that decision to give it a go, who knows what I’d be doing now – I certainly wouldn’t be the person and player I am today.’’

Since graduating from the programme in 2015, Alex progressed to study at university level at Loughborough University where he is currently undertaking his third year studying sports coaching.

He now represents Loughborough Futsal Club in the National Super League – the highest level of futsal in England.

He insists his progression in the sport all stems from his time around the coaches at Leeds United.

“My time at Leeds was a massive stepping stone for me. The coaches at Leeds are so knowledgeable and know exactly how to help you develop and reach your potential.

“I’d recommend the BTEC programme to anyone. It really is a fantastic chance to represent your club, wear the badge and not only play futsal but get an education too.’’

Looking to the future, Alex hopes to not only keep his place in the England Futsal side but develop as a coach and inspire others.

He even wishes to help out at a place he feels he owes so much to.

“One day I hope to go back to Leeds United Foundation to help out and coach, I feel I want to give something back to a place that did so much for me.

“It’s a great feeling inspiring others and coaching people of different ages, helping them to improve their sporting life and then maybe even seeing them pass on their knowledge and help someone else.’’

To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal visit: http://www.efltrust.com/futsal/

EFL Trust celebrates 10 year anniversary

2018 sees the EFL’s official charity, EFL Trust celebrate ten years of positively impacting people’s lives through the power of football.

The special anniversary was officially celebrated on Monday 12th February, with a multitude of special guests across football in attendance at EFL House in Preston.

Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen hosted the afternoon, and she was joined by former Manchester United Assistant Manager Mike Phelan, EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey and many others, including a number of EFL Trust staff, key partners and participants who went on to share their stories showcasing the successful work of EFL Clubs in their communities.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618ax)
Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen at 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018

“To hear some of the stories today of the participants that have benefitted from the EFL Trust programmes has been amazing,” McQueen said.

“Working in football all these years allows you to see the massive impact Clubs can have on communities and individuals. Football clubs are at the heart of the community and that’s why days like today, celebrating the EFL Trust, are hugely important – so you can see the work that goes on behind the scenes to change lives.

“Players on the pitch often create the headlines but there are so many more success stories going on that are helping the greater good.”

Based in the heart of communities up and down the country, EFL Clubs are at the forefront of helping to tackle some of the biggest issues in society from reducing crime, improving health and inspiring education, and they continue to deliver programmes that benefit the lives of hundreds of people, using the magnetism of the Club badge to make a difference.


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618ds)
Carol Bates from Crawley COGS and Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen at 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618o)
Corbin Davies aged 9 and dad Darren at 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018

During the event, four participants shared their inspirational stories about how the EFL Trust network has significantly changed their lives. Their inspirational stories show the massive breath of the Trust’s work – Marek Hyde, a young man getting off drugs and into employment; Carol Bates, a lady that started a movement for older women to play football; Cheyenne Van Den Berg, a teenager who gained the belief to take on a world of opportunities and Darren Davies, father of Corbin Davies, a young boy who found the confidence not to be defined by his disability.


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618dx)
Marek Hyde and Cheyenne Van Den Berg at 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018

One of the standout stories of the day was Marek Hyde of Derby County’s Active Choices Programme.

Marek endured a turbulent past through substance addiction and after making steps to change his life, got involved with Derby County’s Active Choices Programme – a healthy lifestyle and behavioural change programme.

Marek joined the programme in 2016 and has since turned his life around. With the help and support of the Club, he found full-time employment and completed a Sports Leadership qualification in partnership with the Street Football Association. He also received an England call-up to the Street Football World Cup in Oslo.

Hyde said: “I was in prison when I realised something needed to change, and in a way I was relieved to be there because my life outside of prison was so bad.

“When it had sunk in I sat there and thought ‘do I want this?’ I knew I had an opportunity to make a change. I got in touch with Derby County Community Trust through my rehab programme and once I was involved with them they helped me fill my days with football, activities and positive things. It gave me something to look forward to and really helped sustain my recovery.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618aj)
Mike Evans Director of Operations of the EFL Trust at 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018

The EFL Trust was established in 2008 to support EFL Clubs and the growing amount of community work that was being carried out. Since its inception, the EFL Trust has secured and distributed a significant amount of funding to help deliver a range of national projects within the 72 EFL Clubs and EFL Trust Director of Operations Mike Evans says the future for EFL Club Community Trusts is exciting:

“As we enter our tenth year, we will shortly be making a distribution that takes us over the one million pound mark, which is a phenomenal amount of money to support the great community work that our Clubs are delivering,” he said.  

“We’re excited about the future and with good reason,” he continued.

“Our biggest thank you goes to the Club Trusts themselves, as without them we don’t exist. We now have over 2,400 staff working on community programmes across the country and I never cease to be amazed by the people we have delivering our programmes and wearing their club badge with pride.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618cb)
Free style footballer John Farnworth at the 10th Anniversary of the EFL Trust
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Currie/BPI/REX/Shutterstock (9374618e)
The EFL Trust 10th anniversary birthday cake
EFL Trust 10th Anniversary, EFL House, Preston, UK, 12 February 2018


Home office based scheme to benefit hundreds of Wigan youngsters

Young people in Wigan are set to learn about the dangers of knife crime as part of a Home Office backed initiative from Wigan Athletic Community Trust.

Delivered in partnership with Wigan Council, the Trust have received funding of £2,440 to deliver workshops to over 300 youngsters aged 12-19 years old across the borough to raise awareness of the subject and to help prevent knife crime.

Rachel Scott, Inclusion Officer at Wigan Athletic Community Trust, said: “The project encourages young people to consider the impact and challenges that knife crime can have on their local communities and the wider society, including how to deal with conflict and staying safe.

She added: “We’ll be engaging with a number of young people through open discussions and workshops so they have a better understanding of the consequences associated with carrying a knife and its impact on them and their families.”

The Knife Crime Community Fund, launched by the Home Office, supports projects that reduce knife crime and have a positive impact on young people at risk of carrying a knife and committing a crime.

Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, said: “I’m pleased that we were able to announce this funding for Wigan Athletic Community Trust, which will help them to continue to support young people in Wigan to make the right choices about knives.

She added: “The Knife Crime Community Fund is another important step towards stamping out this scourge and keeping our communities safe.”

Latics club captain Dan Burn, said: “The workshops will benefit so many young people in Wigan and credit must go to the Community Trust once again for the launch of such a fantastic initiative.”

For more information about the Knife Crime workshops, please call 01942 318090 or email Inclusion Officer Rachel Scott on r.scott@wiganathletic.com.


World Cancer Day 2018: Unite in the fight against cancer

On 4th February, the EFL Trust supports World Cancer Day as our clubs continue to do fantastic work supporting people whose lives are affected by cancer using the power of football.

#WorldCancerDay is a global event that unites the World’s population in the fight against cancer.

As more people live longer with cancer and more of us experience it, most people will know someone with cancer – whether they’re a colleague, family member or friend.

Research shows that physical activity can be an important part of recovery after cancer treatment and may reduce the risk of certain cancers coming back.

To help provide a social environment to share stories, build strength and increase their confidence and self-esteem during a difficult period of their lives, our EFL Club Community Trusts run various programmes and projects including Notts County FC Football in the Community’s CARE programme.

The programme is run in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and is designed for patients at any stage of their treatment or recovery with sessions involving fun, graduated strengthening exercises and a chance to meet and socialise with others who have been through similar experiences.

Participant Gill Allan had this to say about her experience on the programme:

“The class is so friendly and the coaches are brilliant. The laughter and camaraderie is the best medicine and so inspiring.

‘’No one judges you, everyone is supportive we are after all in the same boat (albeit slightly different canoes). I am in better physical shape since participating, my range of movement has improved, along with stamina and [the programme] has proved I can push myself.

‘’CARE has increased my confidence, I had struggled alone for so many years my mobility decreasing, in pain and stiffness dominated my days. I am now happier and smiling even more than usual.”

Norwich City are another club who run a programme in their local community focused on supporting those with cancer, called the Kick Cancer programme.

The 10 week activity based project in partnership with the Big C and Riverside Leisure Centre, involves activities such as yoga, gym, swimming and walking sports as well as a social hour with group discussions, guest appearances and excursions.

Elsewhere, Derby County Community Trust have recently launched a cancer recovery programme that runs in partnership with Derby Royal Hospital called ‘Active Recovery’.

Following the launch of the programme, Jack Bell from the Derby County Community Trust said: ‘’The launch event has been a huge success. It’s great that we can make a positive influence on so many people’s lives.

‘’To have so many people here today [at the launch] demonstrates the need and gives an insight into the impact we can have on individuals.’’

EFL GIRLS CUP: Road to Wembley

The local stages and area finals of the EFL Girls Cup are now complete as eight U-13 girls teams now remain in the competition.

Over 6,000 players have taken part in the six-a-side tournament this year, all hoping to experience the culminating grand final prior to the Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium on 8th April 2018.

Eight clubs, from Bristol Rovers to Barnsley, hosted action as players battled it out for cherished spots in the north and south regional finals – just one step from Wembley.

Teams through to the North Regional Finals to be played in Bolton on Wednesday 28th February 2018:

Bolton Wanderers

Derby County

Shrewsbury Town

Hull City

Teams through to the South Regional Finals to be played in Reading on Friday 2nd March 2018:


Crawley Town

Colchester United

Bristol City

Shrewsbury Town Thomas Telford School celebrate winning the Girls Cup Final

Girls Cup Final:

Winner of North Regional Final        V        Winner of South Regional Final

Wembley Stadium, 8th April 2018

(Before the Checkatrade Trophy Final)


Take a look back at last years’ behind the scenes video of the Grand Final:


EVAN SEPHTON: “Pulling on a Wigan Athletic shirt is the best feeling in the world.”

For Latics fan and season ticket holder Evan Sephton, the Every Player Counts disability football programme has provided the 13 year old with some unforgettable opportunities.

Having been a part of the scheme since its launch in November 2016, Evan’s development has been impressive, and as well as attending sessions regularly at Wigan Youth Zone, he also proudly represents the club’s disability team in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League.

The Every Player Counts project, funded by Wembley National Stadium Trust and administered by the EFL Trust, aims to get more people with disabilities involved in football and sport, with Wigan Athletic Community Trust working with over 400 individuals over the past 12 months.

He said: “I really enjoy playing for Wigan Athletic because it makes me so happy and I love having banter and fun with my friends. To pull on a Latics shirt is the best feeling in the world and I just want to do well when I play because I’m representing my club.”

Adding: “I’m a season ticket holder and go to all the home games. The players have been amazing this season and it’s so good to be at the top of League One.

Wigan Athletic Community Trust has delivered over 800 hours of coaching as part of the project, with 10% of participants, including Evan, progressing to play competitive sport.

Sean Rowlinson, Sport and Cohesion Coach, said: “In terms of the programmes we offer, delivering the Every Player Counts project is one of the most rewarding for me because we see participants really come to life and excel at what they have to offer us.”

He added: “Evan’s been fantastic and has been one of the standout participants. He’s gone from being quite shy and quiet but after getting to know the other lads and the players around him, he’s come out of his shell and is now one of the loudest in the group if anything.”

For more information about the Every Player Counts project, please contact Disability Football Officer Joe Pym on 01942 318090 or e-mail j.pym@wiganathletic.com.

Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through ‘Together’.

To find out more information about Every Player Counts visit: http://www.efltrust.com/projects/every-player-counts/