Anita Asante and a host of her Chelsea Women team-mates were among the onlookers as St Polycarp’s School and Holy Trinity booked their spot at the annual Premier League Primary Stars Schools Tournament national finals on Tuesday 21 May at Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Molineux Stadium.
‘Be Inspired’ is one of the Premier League Primary Stars core values and so it was fitting when Asante, along with some of her team-mates, paid a visit to the event at Cobham on Monday afternoon.
Asante, Bethany England, Deanna Cooper, Drew Spence, Hannah Blundell and Jess Carter all took time out of their schedule to watch some of the action before signing autographs, posing for photographs and taking part in a Q&A session.
Asante, who has made 32 appearances in two spells for the Blues, said: ‘We have been meeting some children from inner London and Surrey who are playing in a tournament with the winners getting the chance to play at Molineux.
‘It’s great for children to interact with role models and see what positions they can aspire too.
‘For them to get a first-hand conversation with us, ask us questions and have a little kickabout is a great opportunity for them that not every kid gets the opportunity to have.
‘The growth of the women’s game has been inspirational, all over the world, especially England, and I think you are seeing so much more participation among young girls in football and so it’s a great opportunity for us to be here and meet them and for them to get inspired.’
Over the past month, the Foundation has hosted two regional heats for primary schools in London and Surrey with more than 90 school teams competing.
Ten qualifying teams attended the regional final at Cobham with Holy Trinity and St Polycarp’s crowned champions to earn their place at the national finals at Molineux in May.
Chelsea Foundation schools education officer Tyrone Reid said: ‘Children love to play football and this tournament has been a great opportunity for them to get the chance to represent Chelsea.
‘The winners will be in full Chelsea kit, they will go up to Molineux on the Chelsea men’s team bus and so it’s a great experience for them.
‘Last year, the team representing the Chelsea Foundation won the tournament and so hopefully we will have more success in May!’