10 local primary schools compete to represent Leeds United.
Gaetano Berardi was the special guest at a football tournament staged at Thorp Arch recently as part of the annual EFL Kids Cup.
The EFL Kids Cup is a football competition that takes place across the country with hundreds of teams taking part to be in with the once-in-a-lifetime chance of playing at Wembley Stadium.
Leeds United Foundation invited 10 Leeds-based primary schools, that were all successful in the previous stage of the tournament, to the club’s training ground to determine who would go onto represent Leeds United Football Club in the North Regional Finals - increasing their chances of then going on to play at the London based stadium.
The indoor training pitch was split into two halves, with five schools making up Group A and the other five competing against each other in Group B. The winning team from Group A and B would then compete against each other to become the overall winner.
The Whites defender was on hand to spend time learning about the national tournament during his visit, watching some of the teams play and having photos with the children in attendance.
30-year-old Berardi spoke to LUTV during the appearance and said: “It’s really nice for the kids to play a tournament like this and they have the chance to play at Wembley which is unbelievable.
“It’s nice for me to come and see them play and of course if there are some good players maybe they could have a big future for Leeds.”
Joe Scargill, Project Officer for the club’s official charity, added: “This part of the tournament is a fantastic opportunity for people all across the city to come down to the club’s training ground and participate in a competition that could lead to the opportunity of playing at the national stadium.
“I think it’s every kid’s dream to play at Wembley, we all grow up watching the national team play so to have an opportunity to play where England do is just brilliant.
“A big thank you to Gaetano for taking the time to come and meet the children, it means so much to them all to see one of their heroes and it was something they will all remember from their day here.”
The winning school on the day were Green Lane who beat Immaculate Heart of Mary 1-0 in the final. Green Lane will now go on to represent Leeds United at the North Regional Finals that will take place in Rotherham in March.
Well done to all of the schools involved in the tournament at Thorp Arch and good luck to Green Lane in the next stage.