A team of young people from Croydon’s CPFC Kickz project have gone on to win the National Kickz Under 18 Cup on Saturday 21st July. Crystal Palace won all seven of their group games beating Manchester United, Newcastle United, Arsenal, West Ham United, Middlesbrough, Leyton Orient and trounced Aston Villa 8-1. CPFC finishing top of the group with a maximum total of 21 points and a total of 39 goals scored. Rio Ferguson who has been with Kickz since he was 16 said,
“Kickz has really made a difference in my life, its stopped me hanging around the streets and had got me into something good and also teaches me to express myself. Winning this tournament and being from Croydon has shown everyone that Croydon youth are good and most of the young people are like me working hard to get into work with the help of Crystal Palace Kickz.”
The semi finals saw Crystal Palace up against Newcastle United who Palace has narrowly beaten 1-0 in the group stages. This was game far more one sided with Crystal Palace running out 4-1 winners and making a smooth passage into the semi finals.
The final saw Crystal Palace up against their rivals from the east end of London, Leyton Orient. Palace beat Leyton Orient 3-2 in the group stages in quite spectacular fashion coming back from two goals down and scoring with almost the last kick of the game.
The final was a very tight affair with Crystal Palace going ahead first then Leyton Orient drawing then taking the lead but Palace came back to equalise. The game finished 2-2 and went to penalties. After two penalties each it was 2-1 to Leyton Orient with Palace having missed their second penalty. Leyton Orient had the opportunity to win the Kickz Cup but Palace Goalkeeper Lewis… saved with his legs and Palace scored to equalise.
The penalty shoot-out then went to sudden death with Palace and Leyton Orient scoring all three and the scores being tied at 5-5.Leyton Orient missed their kick and Palace defender Danny Williams, who had earlier missed in the shoot-out, slotted his penalty home to send the Palace players into ecstasy.
The team was managed by Bromley Kickz Officer, Kieran Connolly and Croydon Kickz Officer, Trevor Meader and was made of young people who attend Canterbury Road, Croydon Kickz.