Hammers retain PL Kicks Cup!

An Under-16 West Ham United Foundation side were crowned 2015 Premier League Kicks Cup winners to earn the Hammers a third successive Kicks title. 

The football season may have ended for many, but 47 clubs from both the Premier League and Football League were represented by a total of 70 teams at The Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields in Liverpool.  

Having won the tournament last year on home soil at the famous Hackney Marshes, the mixed Under-16 side cemented their status as Kicks Cup champions in style. 

The young Irons put on a defensive masterclass on the day, such that they would lift the trophy without conceding a solitary goal. 

In the final it took a delicate chipped finish from Malachi Napa to see off Newcastle United 1-0 and earn the Hammers’ Foundation yet more silverware.   

The Foundation was represented in the girls’ event too and having put in some fantastic performances in the group stages, were ultimately beaten 2-0 by an impressive Wigan Athletic side. The Latics’ ladies would go on to suffer penalty shootout heartache in the final to Newcastle. 

Foundation Community Sports Officer George Chukwuma had plenty to cheer and was naturally delighted with the performances of West Ham’s two sides. 

“Both of our teams were an absolute credit to the Foundation on and off the pitch and I could not be happier with how they conducted themselves.

“As reigning champions, the mixed side knew they would have to work that extra bit harder as everyone wanted to beat them. They worked really well as a group, played to each other’s strengths and put in the hard yards for one another. 

“To win the tournament without conceding a goal was beyond our wildest expectations. They should all be very proud of themselves.”

As well as the many matches that took place throughout the day, participants of the Kicks Cup were able to make the most of on-site workshops and advice and support from professional coaches.

The Premier League Kicks Cup is the culmination of a season-long community programme run by the Premier League and Sport England to allow those who traditionally do not participate in organised sporting activities the use of facilities and equipment.

Premier League Community Development Executive, Nick Perchard hailed the scheme’s overwhelming success, with it now into its ninth year.  

“We were thrilled to have held this year’s competition at one of the Merseyside Youth Association’s playing fields. Premier League Kicks is about connecting with communities, which complements the work MYA’s sports initiatives deliver throughout the year. 

“Over the last 12 months the 50 professional football clubs delivering the programme have engaged over 42,000 young people, so to mark the opening of the Jeffrey Humble Playing Fields by seeing 600 of them competing for the Premier League Kicks Cup is very exciting.”

The Premier League Kicks programme began in 2006 as a pilot project in London between the Premier League and the Metropolitan Police with the aim of using football to bring communities together and to engage with young people. 

Currently, 50 Premier League and Football League clubs run local community-based sessions, which have engaged with over 42,795 young people this season.