A group of Exeter schoolboys had the experience of a lifetime as they set foot on the hallowed Wembley turf for the Utilita Kids Cup Final on Saturday, ahead of the Sky Bet League Two play-off final between Mansfield Town and Port Vale.
Stoke Hill under-12s - representing Exeter City - were beaten 4-0 by St George's Primary who were playing for Tranmere Rovers, but it was nonetheless an incredible afternoon for the young boys.
It wasn't our day today as we were beaten in the @UtilitaFootball KIDS Cup by a very good St. George's Primary representing @TranmereRovers. Congratulations to them. Amazingly proud of our team though & what an amazing experience to play at Wembley. #stokehillmagic pic.twitter.com/KM3kTMt3Gz— Stoke Hill Fed (@StokeFed) May 28, 2022
The team had reached the final after regional heats and were supported by coaches from Exeter City Community Trust with training sessions over the season.
The Utilita Kids Cup is a national tournament for junior footballers which offers children the once in a lifetime opportunity to play at Wembley Stadium.
The Cup involves over 16,000 children and creates one of the country’s largest national football competitions and inspires children to be active, healthy, and develop a strong sense of teamwork.
It discovered Watford footballer Will Hughes and Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, while David Beckham’s former school Chase Lane Primary walked away as 2013/14 Kids Cup League 1 winners, representing Leyton Orient.
Stoke Hill progressed through two tournaments to win the right to play in the final, having first won the local Exeter tournament, before winning the Southern tournament. St George's route to the final was via three separate tournament wins.
Callum Shipton, Exeter City Community Trust club community coach travelled with the team to Wembley, He said: "What a fantastic experience for players and staff from Stoke Hill representing Exeter City at Wembley for the Utilita Kids Cup Final. Despite the result not going our way on the day, the boys positivity and professional attitude was outstanding throughout.
"Having the privilege to see backstage at one of the biggest and best stadiums in world football is something that myself, the team, and all involved will never forget."
The Stoke Hill team was: Tom (c), Oliver (GK), Ben G, Ben K, Leo, Harley, Jack and Luca. Well done lads!
Everyone at Exeter City is extremely proud of your efforts.
This was great when the boys went back into the changing room to find their kits set out. pic.twitter.com/P2doFMkSck— Stoke Hill Fed (@StokeFed) May 28, 2022
You can read more on the final, here via the EFL.