Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Beth England have made the draw for the Premier League Schools tournament final, which this year is being held at Stamford Bridge.
Under-11 mixed and Under-13 girls teams from each top-flight club will compete at our home ground in May and the fate of each team is now known following last week’s draw at Cobham.
Loftus-Cheek and Chelsea Ladies winger Beth England were given the task of drawing the balls out of the pot and they then answered questions fielded by youngsters who will represent the Blues at the finals, organised as part of the Premier League Primary Stars initiative.
John Keble Church of England Primary School came out on top in the Chelsea Foundation’s under-11s mixed tournament, held last month, with Blenheim High School emerging victorious in the Under-13 girls’ category.
‘I was imagining I was doing the Champions League draw!’ Loftus-Cheek laughed. ‘It was fun.
‘It's a moment they will never forget. For me, the first time I was playing at a big stadium, I still remember it now. It was at West Brom’s stadium and it was wicked!
‘It’s a big achievement for them and they will remember it and treasure each moment. They can expect to feel nervous but excited as well. It's a great moment, having fun playing football with your friends in a stadium, what's not to enjoy? You have got to let the nerves flow, let it go and just play.’
England compared what the youngsters will go through next month with an experience of her own.
‘I can relate to the feeling of when we played in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge against Wolfsburg,’ she said. ‘The feeling of standing in that tunnel and walking out in front of the crowd is an unreal experience and I don't think it is anything you can ever forget.
‘I didn't have anything like this when I was young but starting them young and getting them to know what that experience is like is going to be really good for them.’
The 40 teams will get the full Premier League experience next month, running on to the pitch in their club’s kit, visiting the dressing rooms and having top-flight referees oversee their matches.
The Premier League Schools Tournament is all about increasing participation in football for boys and girls, and the main event at our famous home ground next month will unquestionably be a very special day indeed for those children from all over the country taking part.