Eight girls from an H&F primary school will proudly wear Fulham shirts bearing their names after making it through to the national finals of a Premier League tournament.
The youngsters from St John’s Walham Green in Filmer Road triumphed in the qualifying stages of the annual Premier League Primary Stars schools tournament, and will now be treated like top-flight footballers in May at the finals staged at Molineux, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The girls will stay overnight in a hotel, change in the professionals’ dressing rooms, then walk down the tunnel and run out on the pitch in their Fulham kit to represent the Whites as the Premier League anthem plays before taking part in the finals, refereed by Premier League officials.
It is a major feather in the cap for St John’s, a primary school with a proud history of sporting excellence, and it was achieved by victory in the qualifying event at Fulham FC’s training ground in Motspur Park, having performed well in eight group games.
The St John’s team made the final after a record of four wins, three draws and one defeat in the early rounds, culminating in a match against Cleeve school of Weybridge, who were undefeated.
Ellie W scored the all-important goal for St John’s, taking them through to the final against Buckland primary of Staines – the competition favourites who had reached the last two without conceding a goal, and who had already inflicted the only defeat on St John’s.
“From the first whistle the determination of our team was evident, and midway through the final we were to win a free kick in a dangerous position. Up stepped captain and set piece specialist Isabel HS, who calmly curled a wonderful strike into the bottom corner of the net,” reported teacher James Welch.
“From this point the girls defended magnificently, keeping their emotions under control and remaining focused on the roles which had served them so well getting to this point.”
Heroic defending (notably by Olivia B and Annie WM) were complemented by a superb save late on by goalkeeper Isabelle LD, allowing St John’s to lift the trophy and collect winners’ medals at the end.
Now the team will set off on their all-expenses-paid trip to Wolves on Tuesday 21 May to take part in a national competition against 39 other school teams, representing the 20 Premier League clubs in U11 mixed and U11 girls categories.
The St John’s boys narrowly missed out on joining them for the expedition, finishing third in their group, despite inflicting a 2-0 defeat on the eventual champions, St Michael’s of Ashford.
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