A team of Chichester College footballers had a taste of the magic of Wembley on FA Cup final day.
They were invited to the event as champions of the FA People’s Cup female futsal (college) competition.
It was unreal, waiting in the tunnel with all the Chelsea and Manchester United players walking past us.Poppy Shine
Poppy’s Players were the first team to win this category at the FA People’s Cup, after beating AGFA from Newcastle-Under-Lyme College 8-0 in the final at St George’s Park in April.
To celebrate, they were able to parade their trophy at half-time during the Cup fnal in front of a crowd of more than 87,000 fans and enjoy the game from Club Wembley.
Captain Poppy Shine, who is studying a diploma in coaching and delivery of physical education, spearheaded the team’s entry into the competition as part of her role at the college as a football activator.
She said: “It was an amazing experience – we got to Wembley early to soak up the atmosphere in the fan zones before going in to the stadium.
“We were in Club Wembley and we were really well looked after, before being taken down to the pitch just before half-time.
“It was unreal, waiting in the tunnel with all the Chelsea and Manchester United players walking past us before we joined Alex Scott on the pitch for the presentations.
“That was insane. We were at the FA Cup final, on the pitch in front of all those people – a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we were given through being here at Chichester College.”
The team featured players from the college’s female football academy.
Coach Matt Wright added: “This was a brilliant way to end our first season here at Chichester College. We’ve seen the players really develop in the academy, and to win a national competition is brilliant for the team and for the college.
“Futsal isn’t quite the same as football, it’s a much quicker pace and you have to think a bit differently – but despite not playing it before, they took to the game quickly – as we saw by them winning the FA People’s Cup. It’s a fantastic achievement and the Wembley experience was the cherry on top.”