Chelsea FC Foundation’s Premier League Kicks cohort took part in the tournament, held at Crystal Palace’s training ground.
The Foundation invited four of its teams from across the programme, where it offers free football to young people in south-west London.
A team from the Foundation’s disability programme took the honours at the 15th-anniversary tournament. The team of six, led by Foundation coaches, won four out of their five games to top the table and take the trophy back to west London.
The six-aside tournament involved teams from Fulham, Arsenal, Leyton Orient, Millwall and Crystal Palace. The Blues’ disability cohort only conceded one goal across the whole tournament.
The Foundation side train weekly and the tournament win is a sign of the progress the squad have made throughout the season, with the coronavirus pandemic affecting previous seasons.
Adam Semple, one of the coaches, said: ‘I have worked with each team member throughout the season in different sessions, so being able to bring them together and get them on the same page and be able to win the tournament is really a credit to them and their ability. I’m so proud of them all!’
Alongside the disability team, the Foundation also had one female and two male teams compete at the Kicks Cup.
It was the first ever tournament our female team took part in and they did well to reach the quarter-final stage. Both male teams made it to the final of their respective tournaments and both had to take part in nervy penalty shootouts. Our U16s unfortunately lost but our U18s won.
Callum Salhotra, Chelsea Foundation’s senior youth inclusion officer, said: ‘The 15th Anniversary Kicks Cup was a great example of the power of the programme.
‘I’m really proud of how all the young people across all age groups played and behaved while representing Chelsea at the tournament. To have four teams competing shows how inclusive the programme is and the engagement we get at sessions.’
Kai Zini, U18 participant, added: ‘We had a great time at the Kicks tournament and winning it was amazing as there were good teams taking part. It is great to be involved in competitive games and to play at the Crystal Palace training ground.’
Contact [email protected] for more information about our disability provision for children and adults.