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Unforgettable day at the Bridge

Chelsea Ladies striker Eniola Aluko and Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore were in attendance to hand out the trophies as Stamford Bridge hosted the prestigious Premier League Schools Tournament on Tuesday.

The annual event, which was established in 2006, provides a platform to promote the Premier League Primary Stars initiative, which is supported by each of the 20 top-flight clubs throughout the year.

Each Premier League club holds a tournament for schools in their area for an Under-11s mixed category and Under-13s girls, with winners progressing to the National Finals.

Professional referees were on hand to officiate the matches, which were also watched by Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, with Chelsea Foundation coaches and volunteers ensuring the 320 youngsters from 40 schools enjoyed a day never to forget.

Aluko, who featured in Chelsea’s Ladies’ big win at Sunderland at the weekend, said: ‘It was a pleasure to come down and see the great work being done by the Premier League Primary Stars programme.

‘When I was young I didn’t have opportunities like this and it would have been a dream to play in a competition like this at Stamford Bridge. 

‘For the girls in particular it is amazing.  Premier League clubs are doing a lot for women’s football and a lot of these girls are affiliated with a club and receiving good coaching as I’ve seen first-hand with the Chelsea Foundation.

‘That quality was on show in all the games I watched and the standard and technique on show from the kids was brilliant. It was a pleasure to be invited and to hand out the medals.  Well done to everyone involved.’ 

Chelsea’s Under-11 representatives John Keble Church of England Primary School did superbly to reach the semi-final in the competition, losing out to Crystal Palace on penalties.

Captain Elluyani Passos said: ‘It has been an incredible experience to come and represent Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.  We did well to reach the semi-final and it has given me a lot of experience for the future.’ 

Meanwhile, in the Under-13 girls category, the Blues’ representatives, Blenheim High School, did the club proud but just failed to qualify from their group, captain Amelie Darey said: ‘It was a good experience to play at Stamford Bridge and I am proud of the team and the way we played. I will never forget scoring at Stamford Bridge!’

The overall winners on the day were St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School, who were representing Manchester City and Chesterfield High School in the girls' competition, who were wearing the red of Liverpool.