Express & Star

Care leavers leave it all out on the field in competition finals

It was a day for young care leavers to team up and compete for the right to be called champions.

Wolverhampton Warriors receive their Care Leavers Championship Cup 2024 runners-up trophy from the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Linda Leach.

The care leavers took to the pitch at Molineux Stadium in June as Wolverhampton Council and Wolves Foundation hosted the finals of this year's Care Leavers Championship Cup.

Eight teams from across the West Midlands took part in the annual football tournament recently, making this year’s event not only one of the largest in the UK specifically for those with care experience, but also the first to be hosted at a Premier League stadium.

Wolverhampton Warriors compete in the Care Leavers Championship Cup 2024.

Wolverhampton Council's own team, The Wolverhampton Warriors, were able to use the home team dressing room to prepare for their matches, and made it through to the final, only to be pipped to the cup by the Warwickshire Legends.

Sides from Solihull, Shrewsbury, Coventry, Walsall, Staffordshire, Hereford and Wolverhampton also participated in the competition

Players from all eight teams received attendance medals, with the winners’ trophy being presented by the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Linda Leach.

Winners of the Care Leavers Championship Cup 2024, Warwickshire Legends, celebrate with the winners trophy in front of the player’s tunnel at Molineux.

Councillor Jacqui Coogan, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for children, young people and education, said: "It was fabulous that so many care experienced young people had the opportunity to play on the hallowed turf at the Molineux Stadium like their footballing heroes."

One Wolverhampton Warriors player said the event was "able to make my dreams come true playing at a Premier League stadium", calling it "life changing" and "an amazing memory that will never leave me”.

Players from Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton Warriors battle for the ball in the Care Leavers Championship Cup 2024.

Another said: "Even though we didn’t win, it was still a major accomplishment and the fact it was at the Molineux as well, so what a moment for all of us."

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