Utilita, the Official Title Partner of the Kids and Girls Cup competitions, yesterday marked the launch of their partnership with the EFL. Our Jersey Road Training Ground played host to a tournament to kick-off the new partnership with Utilita, who are also a Brentford FC partner. Schoolchildren from Rabbsfarm, Marlborough and St Anselm’s Primary Schools took part in a six-aside tournament to mark the start of the partnership and celebrate the Kids and Girls Cup competitions.
The event was supported by Brentford FC and the Brentford FC Community Sport Trust, who hosted the tournament. Wycombe Wanderers’ Adebayo Akinfenwa, Brentford FC players Josh Clarke and Joe Hardy and Brentford FC Women’s stars Charlotte Tanner and Nicole Goolab were on hand to coach the teams, acting as mentors for the round robin tournament while other players - including Rico Henry and Saïd Benrahma - also stopped by.
Utilita are one of the UK’s fastest-growing energy suppliers and a leader in the smart meter revolution – installing Britain’s first ever smart meter way back in 2008. Brentford are one of 14 EFL Clubs currently partnered with Utilita, with sponsorship ranging from stadium naming rights to junior retail kits.
Earlier this season, the EFL and Utilita announced a new partnership which will be in place until at least the conclusion of the 2022/23 season. This will see the community competitions renamed as the ‘Utilita Kids Cup’ and ‘Utilita Girls Cup’ respectively. Utilita are Brentford's Official Energy Partner and also the shirt sponsor of Brentford Women’s FC First Team and Development Team.
More than 22,000 schoolchildren take part in the competitions each year, with the aim of representing their local EFL Club, as they battle for the opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium. The Girls Cup Final takes place before the Leasing.com Trophy Final and the Kids Cup Finals during the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals weekend.
In the run up to these Finals, EFL clubs and their community organisations deliver local and regional stages of the competitions. By encouraging these young people to participate and develop a love of sport, the clubs and CCOs are helping to deliver the EFL Trust’s overall vision to create stronger, healthier, more active communities, whilst also supporting Sport England’s ambition of creating an active nation by focusing on the benefits sport can bring to people and society. The competitions have also historically played a part in the development of some now established professional players, with Will Hughes (Watford) and Scott McTominay (Manchester United) having previously represented their schools in the Kids Cup Finals.
Adebayo Akinfenwa said: “I think initiatives like the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup are a brilliant thing and are a must. To give children the opportunity to play the game and have the ultimate reward of playing on that hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium, which is a dream for many kids and adults, is immense.”
Nicole Goolab said: “It’s been great to be down here today coaching the teams and making it enjoyable for them to play football. I took part in a similar competition to the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup when I was younger and providing children with the chance to potentially play at Wembley is a once in a lifetime opportunity and an achievement they can hold on to for the rest of their lives.”
As well as the title sponsorship, Utilita will have a portfolio of rights across the Utilita Kids Cup and the Utilita Girls Cup, including digital rights and prestigious access at all EFL Wembley Finals. The partnership will also allow Utilita to activate within communities nationwide across area and regional Finals of the respective competitions, as well as four newly created football festivals.
Jem Maidment, Director of Marketing and Communications at Utilita, said: “As a company who prides itself on engaging with communities, we are delighted to launch our long term partnership with the EFL for the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup. We are a big believer in grassroots football and this competition can only strengthen mental and physical wellbeing for schoolchildren across England and Wales – something we are very proud of.
“We would like to thank Brentford FC for providing the location for today’s event and to the EFL, for their continued support in what has been an exciting start to the partnership.”