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17 May 2024



17 May 2024

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Rotherham United were thrilled to welcome children and staff from 26 primary schools from around the Borough to AESSEAL New York Stadium for a play-on-the-pitch experience as part of the Connected Cup.

The Millers opened the doors at AESSEAL New York Stadium to allow young students from around the Rotherham area to step foot onto the hallowed turf at the club’s first team stadium, where a friendly schools tournament took place throughout the day on Friday 17th May 2024.

The children not only got the opportunity to lace up their boots and take the field, they also enjoyed behind-the-scenes experiences in the club’s Les Payne Press Room and in the Players’ Tunnel, whilst our resident mascot Miller Bear was a presence throughout the day pitchside.

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The tournament saw schools come together from reaches of Rotherham from Thorpe Hesley to Thrybergh and also focused on the inclusion of those from less-affluent areas, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit us here at AESSEAL New York Stadium.

The inclusive tournament specified that each school select should include five boys and five girls within their teams to ensure that everybody was able to come along and sample the experience in the life of a footballer on the first team pitch.

The eventual winners of the Connected Cup were Kiveton Primary School, who lifted the trophy early in the afternoon on Friday.

We’d like to thank everyone that took part on the day and congratulate our winners!


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Jonathan Gilberthorpe, Schools and Sports Participation Manager for the Rotherham United Community Trust said:

“It was fantastic to see so many youngsters from all across Rotherham here at the club with happy, smiling faces for our schools event on the pitch.

“We were really proud to be able to deliver – with the support of Rotherham United – a unique event for kids around the town, who were able to go out and have a kickaround on the pitch where their heroes play on a Saturday afternoon.

“The entire tournament was played in fantastic spirit and there were some really good players on show too. That said, the day wasn’t about the winning or losing, it was about showcasing what the football club that is on the doorstep of these youngsters is all about and handing the opportunity to some of those same kids who may not be able to come along to games for whatever reason."

Jonathan Gilberthorpe, Schools and Sports Participation Manager

“As always, we tried to give the children plenty of variety in their experience and it wasn’t just a day of football. We also had workshops running from the Les Payne Press Room where the kids could go and find out more about what it takes to become a sports journalist and, of course, our lovable mascot Miller Bear was on hand for some high-fives and photos.

“I’d like to thank everyone that came along and those who supported the day, whether that be the parents, friends and relatives that came and watched or the staff and teachers from the various schools who oversaw their respective pupils.”

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