In 2012, Girls Football Week had 350 students sign up. In 2016, more than 100,000 people will take part, with over 1,000 organisations including schools, clubs, further and higher education establishments and community groups putting on sessions throughout the week, to give girls and women more opportunities to play the game.
Girls aged between five and 16 years, from various schools across the county were invited to test their skills in a range of activities combining football, fun and music at Strood Leisure Centre in Kent. Accredited FA coaches led the event, with Kent FA staff and volunteers on hand to help out and referee. The sessions included skills and drills, interactive games, mini matches and the ContiWarmUp Programme - the coaching programme endorsed by the FA.
Also on offer was a range of innovative equipment, including an inflatable pitch, speed cage, target shoot, quick feet and batak boards, plus Charlotte Lade, one of the world’s leading professional football freestylers, who throughout the day, demonstrated her amazing tricks and skills. The young athletes had the opportunity to meet Georgina Giddings from the Millwall Lionesses. Georgina was on hand to discuss life as a semi-professional female footballer and give advice on how to get involved in the game.
Natalie Curtis, Football Development Officer at The FA said: “The Continental festivals are a fantastic way to showcase Girls Football Week. The players have enjoyed all the different workshops as well as the Continental area where we have seen some impressive scores today. Kent FA are very proud to have hosted such an event and to see over 200 girls taking part throughout the day shows how Women and Girls football has progressed in the county. The FA’s Girls Football Weeks allow us to shine a spotlight on women’s football and to raise awareness of the opportunities out there to play, coach and referee.”
“Today our volunteers have come from grassroots football with the majority of our volunteers being at Gillingham FC Girls Academy. Their enthusiasm has been on show today and hopefully that will inspire others to get involved in some capacity.
“Throughout the county we have numerous events going on celebrating Girls Football Week from little ones to ladies, and with our youth girls and ladies plate competitions first rounds going ahead this weekend there is a lot to celebrate in Kent.
“The support of the FA and Continental with these events is incredible and allows counties the opportunity to showcase football to children who may not have ever experienced football before. It is now up to us as a County FA to develop a legacy where more girls have the opportunity to play this game we all love.”
For more information on women’s football and where to play please visit www.TheFA.com/womens .