Hammers prepare for Kickz finals

West Ham United Community Sports Trust will have two teams competing in the national Kickz Cup finals at the Boleyn Ground this weekend.

The Hammers' social inclusion project will be represented by a side taking part in the Girls tournament finals on Friday evening before the Trust's Under-14 boys take part in their own finals on Saturday.

In total, 32 teams will take part in four tournaments - Under-18 Females and Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 Males - representing 22 different Barclays Premier League and Football League clubs.

"I am delighted that West Ham United is hosting the national Kickz Cup finals this year," said Vice-Chairman Karren Brady. "One of the first things we did as a Board when we arrived in 2010 was to state our commitment to the local community and this commitment is at the heart of our ethos and forms a key part of the Club's overall values.

"I am keen that we provide young people in particular from the local community with the opportunity to access elite sport to trigger their interest and then actively encourage their participation at grassroots level."

Launched in 2006 by the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police, Kickz has the aim of using football to bring communities together and engage with young people. It has since expanded nationwide to include more than 100 projects run by more than 40 Premier League and Football League clubs.

More than 45,000 youngsters take part in Kickz projects every year, earning thousands of educational qualifications and valuable lifeskills. Each week, players take part in two nights of football (coaching and competition) and a third 'flexible' session focusing on anything from other sports to music or developmental activities such as drug awareness, healthy eating, volunteering, career development and anti-weapons workshops.

One of the main aims of Kickz is to encourage volunteering and create routes into education, training and employment. More than 4,200 young people have volunteered at projects, with more than1,000 football-specific qualifications achieved in the process. Nearly 400 people have gone on to gain employment with clubs, including a number at West Ham. Two of the Hammers' young volunteers, Philip Brown and Jeremiah Kamanzi, were honoured at the 2013 Kickz Awards in April.


West Ham United Kickz U14 Boys will compete on Saturday

West Ham's Kickz co-ordinator George Chukwuma said this weekend's Kickz Cup finals would provide great entertainment for spectators, while also serving as a further illustration of what can be achieved by social inclusion projects like Kickz.

"The Kickz Cup Finals are always great fun and are very competitive, showcasing the country's hidden raw talents competing on the nationwide, up and coming social inclusion stage," said Chukwuma.

The West Ham Kickz Girls will compete in their final from 6pm on Friday 7 June, with Megan Burrows, Tayla Everett, Shadai Miller, Chana Martins, Sophie Reed, Holly Flynn and Sally Duggan going for glory.

The U14s among those taking part in the boys' finals between 9.30am-5pm on Saturday 8 June, with Malachi Napa, Joel Brown, Ronaldo Teca. Kallum Cesay. Zidane, Dani Pandele, Jahuid Irish (Presh) and Siju Odelusi representing the Hammers.


West Ham United Kickz Girls will compete on Friday evening