Since holding its first tournament in 2009, the All Cities Elite Shield (ACES) has expanded to become a nationally recognised boys and girls football tournament, sanctioned by the Football Association.
The vision has always been that the tournament will be an invitation only event, where the best teams from around the country will compete to become National ACES champions.
Andy Panayiotou and Dave Cooper organised the first Aces tournament, held in Leicester in August 2009. Twenty, under 15 teams invited from all over the country came to compete in an 11 aside competiton. Teams from as far afield as Middlesborough, London, Manchester and Bristol travelled to the tournament and the inaugural winners were Harvestors North, from St Albans.
2010 saw the competition move to the superb facilities at Harborough Town FC, Market Harborough, Leics. Two age groups now competed, U14 and U15 and this year saw over a thousand boys compete over a glorious weekend. As with the first year, scouts from many major clubs came to view the talents on view. Once again teams travelled from as far afield as Carlisle and Newcastle to the north, Ipswich to the east, Brighton and Portsmouth to the south and Swansea to the west.
U14 winners were Woodford Youth FC representing Essex
U15 winners were Wingate and Finchley representing North London.
The Aces team also expanded with the arrival of Tania Lee to join Dave and Andy.
The tournament in 2011 once again progressed, expanding to eight age groups over the first two weekends in July. The first weekend kicked off with the boys U15 and U16 age groups at Market Harborough, followed by the introduction of two girls age groups on the Sunday. The following weekend saw the tournament move to the superb facilities at Judge Meadow Community College in Leicester for the U11 to U14 age groups.
Under 14 Girls winners were Blackpool FC Girls representing Blackpool
Under 16 Girls winners were Mersey Girls representing Merseyside
Under 11 winners were Shifnal Harriers representing Telford
Under 12 winners were Woodbridge Town representing Ipswich
Under 13 winners were Dunstable Town representing Dunstable
Under 14 winners were Highfield Rangers representing Leicester
Under 15 winners were Whetstone Juniors representing Leicester
Under 16 winners were Netherton Utd representing Peterborough
The tournament in 2012, like lots of events during the summer was hit by the great british weather and the first weekends tournament had to be postponed due to the flooded pitches and car parks!! The Market Harborough event took place on time and the postponed week was rescheduled for August and eventually took place, however with far fewer teams than originally planned. Lets hope the 2013 tournament is far kinder!
Under 14 Girls winners were Stretton Swifts representing Burton
Under 16 Girls winners were Leicester City Ladies representing Leicester
Under 11 winners were Pro Future representing Blackburn
Under 12 winners were Hessle Rangers representing Hull
Under 13 winners were Blidworth Welfare representing Nottingham
Under 14 winners were Ulverley Hawks representing Birmingham
Under 15 winners were Burton Central representing Derby
Under 16 winners were Harrow & Wealdstone representing Harrow
ACES is trully a nationally recognised 11-aside competition covering ages 11 to 16, with teams travelling from all over the country to compete to become ACES National Champions.
Andy Panayiotou – email@example.com
Dave Cooper – firstname.lastname@example.org