Local primary school Leighswood have won the League One North Finals of the EFL Kids Cup, and are on their way to Wembley!
Leighswood will represent the Saddlers at Wembley Stadium, playing against the Southern Area winners as part of the pre-match entertainment before the League One play-off final on Sunday 26th May.
Over 40 schools took part in Walsall FC’s competition, run by the club’s Community Programme, with Leighswood coming out on top.
The Year 5 and 6 pupils then travelled to Doncaster yesterday for the finals, beating schools from the likes of Blackpool, Accrington, Burton, Barnsley and Bradford.
A 2-0 victory against Fleetwood in the final sealed their place at Wembley as League One North winners.
Leighswood have gone on a 14-game unbeaten run in the Kids Cup this year, having not lost in the club heats, club finals or area finals of the EFL six-a-side competition.
Five of the eight players are also part of Walsall FC Community Programme’s development sides, two of which graduated through to the Walsall FC Academy.
Paul Larvin, Walsall FC Community Programme Manager for Education, said: “The EFL Kids Cup has been running for many years and we have never had a side make it to the final. The closest we have got in the past has been the area semi-finals.
“Indeed, last year Leighswood represented us and lost to the eventual winners so to qualify this year is fantastic.
“The Kids Cup is a six-a-side competition with schools allowed to enter eight players per squad. The players have done extremely well and have played together as a school team and, some of them, play together in grassroots football.
“What is most satisfying is that we have coached five of these players through our Development Centre since they were Under-8s, two of them being signed to the academy. Their performances show that the collaborative coaching has paid dividends in them reaching the final.
“I would also like to put on record that the previous school football coach, who had worked for us for four years prior to joining the school, played a significant part in the development of the players and the team. I know the school also wish to recognise the contribution that Harry Rogers made to this achievement.”