Celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Meet five inspirational women from the Kent grassroots game.

Read their stories below. 

Denise Richmond, Chair of the Kent FA 

richmondDenise became the first woman chair of the Kent FA and the only female chair among 50 county football associations in England when she was elected to the position in 2020.

She began volunteering in football as secretary of Greenwich Borough Football Club in 1988 and has since taken on a range of roles within the game, including her current positions as Chair of the Southern Counties East Football League (SCEFL) and Steps ⅚ Representative on the FA Council.

A lot of Denise’s work is within men’s football and she is often the only female in the room, so being able to bring a woman’s voice to the table is what makes Denise most proud.

Recalling her proudest moment, she said: “Being elected Chair at Kent FA because I was elected - you’re chosen by your peers, that’s the biggest thing.”

Kirsty Dowle, Level 2b referee for the Barclay’s Women’s Super League

dowleKirsty has a women’s FA Cup final and, as of last weekend, a League Cup final on her CV.

But refereeing only recently became a full-time occupation for her, after nine years of balancing her role as an official with her job working on the railways.

Kent-based Kirsty currently referees in the Barclay’s Women’s Super League and the men’s National League South, where this season she has officiated Kent games involving Dover Athletic, Ebbsfleet United and Dartford.

She was part of an all-female team of officials who oversaw the Continental Tyres League Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Recalling her proudest moment, she said: “My proudest moment so far is stepping out at Wembley to referee the Women’s FA Cup final in 2022. Trying to take in every moment and soak up the atmosphere, as well as delivering a showpiece game of football safely.”

Rebecca Moore, Football Development Officer (Women & Girls)

mooreRebecca fell in love with the game at the young age of 4 and has been actively coaching since she was just 11 years old. 

Rebecca has been at the Kent FA since 2022 and has already had a huge impact in Kent having set up an Emerging Talent Centre for Girls for U14s to U16s; reignited the Kent Female Volunteer Forum to support female volunteers in Kent, as well as supporting female clubs and leagues across Kent.

Rebecca’s proudest moment so far is having the flexibility to create opportunities for young girls and ladies to fall in love with football and find a sense of purpose and belonging in the game.

Megan Abbott, Kent FA Youth Council member

abbottMegan began coaching in youth football when she was 14 and loves the positive impact coaches can have on the young players they work with.

Her role with the FA Youth Council enables young people to have their voices heard in how football is run and the future of the sport and she also volunteers at Aylesford Football Club while studying for a degree in Football Coaching and Management at UCFB.

Megan said: “I’m proud to be a woman in football because it allows me to help to inspire other females to be a role model and continue kicking the doors down when people try to keep them shut.”

Natalie Curtis, UEFA A-licensed coach

curtisNatalie is the only female in Kent who holds the second highest level of coaching licence attainable in Europe - the only licence above it is for managers of top flight professional clubs.

She is currently Head of Sports Coaching and Development at Sports Connect, a Kent-based organisation which runs a range of sports-related programmes, and she trains and supports others into coaching alongside coaching herself.

She said: “The amount of football players that Kent accommodates in the girls league and the ladies leagues makes me proud.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl, you’ve got a place across the whole county.”