FIRST CHELSEA CUP A HUGE SUCCESS

The first Chelsea Cup took place at Cobham on Sunday with 36 teams competing in three age groups.

The tournament brought together around 250 players aged 9 to 12 to celebrate the UEFA Women's Champions League final which takes place on Thursday at Stamford Bridge, and highlights the growing popularity of the girls' game.

'Even two years ago I don't think there would have been this many teams taking part,' said Rob Udberg, head of development for Chelsea Ladies.

'The female game is enjoying a massive boost in popularity with the Super League and Champions League both giving inspiration to a new generation of aspiring players.'

The participating players were greeted by the Women's Champions League trophy and were joined by the Chelsea Ladies first team, who came to Cobham ahead of their Continental Cup match against Liverpool the same day.

Taking a break from signing autographs, club captain Carly Telford said: 'What a great day. The atmosphere has been fantastic and the girls are all so enthusiastic and you can feel their passion for football. We've had so many girls asking us questions it just shows how far the ladies game has come in just a short time.'

Every player attending on the day was awarded two tickets for the Women's Champions League final and there were individual awards for players of the tournament who were presented with a signed Champions League ball.

Telford then handed out the main prizes - the coveted Chelsea Cups which were won by AFC Wimbledon Blues in the under-10s, Colne Valley United who were the eventual winners of the under-11s after a penalty shootout, and Ashtead Fillies who were victorious in the under-12 age group.

Tickets for the UEFA Women's Champions League final are £10 adults, £5 juniors and seniors. Click here to book.