Last week, we were invited to an exclusive event at the home of football, Wembley Stadium, we were invited to find out more about Girls Football Week. It was a chance to meet one of the UK’s true football legends – former England football player Kelly Smith MBE, who currently plays for Arsenal Ladies. We also went on a behind the scenes tour of Wembley Stadium.
Girls Football Week is an annual initiative that aims to get girls, parents and teachers thinking differently about football. It’s about giving girls the chance to play the beautiful game, find out about opportunities to get involved with football in their local area, and encourage us all to think a little differently about football – it’s very much a sport for boys and girls!
We had a wonderful time at Wembley and we learned a few things, did you know that Football is the largest female team sport in England. There are more than 2.89 million players and there are more than 5,900 women’s and girls’ teams playing affiliated club football. Alarmingly unlike tennis and netball, among girls surveyed by The FA, only half felt that football was a game for them. Even among young girls that did want to play football, one in four didn’t follow this interest up because they did not have any peer support. I spoke to Squidge about this and she said she loves playing football but the boys at school don’t involve them and that she spends most of the time in the perimeter chatting. I’m planning on seeing if we can change this- an all girls football team sounds like a good goal, don’t you think?
To help champion women’s football, last year The FA launched a campaign called ‘We Can Play’, calling for more girls, parents and teachers to realise that girls can play football too and that it is not just a sport for boys.
To play football and find your local football opportunity, go to TheFA.com to find local football opportunities to you.
The FA is offering free-to-use resources to participating schools and institutions, which include session guides and promotional materials, which can be accessed by completing a small questionnaire on the website.