The FA is launching Girls’ Football Week to encourage more schools to run female-specific football sessions.
The week will run from 5 – 11 October and has been developed from the success of previous Women’s Football Weeks, which were targeted at higher educational establishments. It is being delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA (ISFA), English Schools FA (ESFA), Association of Colleges Sport (AoC Sport) and British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
This year the programme has been extended to include primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities along with clubs and community groups, who are also invited to participate.
In 2014, more than 2,000 people took part in the sessions across 80 institutions. It is aimed that this year, 5,000 girls and women will play football during the week.
Women’s football is the largest female team sport in the country and the third largest team sport after men’s football and cricket. During the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the FA also launched #WeCanPlay, a campaign to encourage more females to play football.
The FA is sharing free-to-use promotional resources to participating schools and institutions, which can be downloaded at use http://www.thefa.com/news/fawsl/2015/sep/girls-football-week-october. Ideas for events/sessions can also be found at http://www.thefa.com/womens-girls-football/participation/play-football.
FA, women’s football national project manager Polly Fildes, said: “This year has seen real change and momentum in women’s football, especially with the success of the Lionesses at this summer’s World Cup, and we wanted to build on that by extending the programme.
“We want as many schools, colleges and universities to provide opportunities for their female students to play football during our national week of action and we have created the tools and materials provided to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
“We have seen some real success stories across the country with our Women’s Football Weeks, with women not just trying, but continuing to play football, and we’re hoping for the same next month. We may even find the next generation of Lionesses.
Lauren Havercroft, senior sport development officer at the University of Hull, said: “Women’s Football Week was a real success at the University of Hull, engaging more than 45 participants in 17 hours of football related activity.
“We delivered three activities; tournament, bubble football and a drop in session, which enabled us to provide different football activities to suit all. The sessions were built around fun, fitness and being with friends using our partners and initiatives to support promotion.
“The week has been a real benefit to our institution as we were able to engage with students we hadn’t reached before and are now proving them weekly opportunities”.
England and Arsenal defender Alex Scott said: “It’s great to see that there is a new week dedicated to getting more girls to play football.
“Anything that gives people the opportunity and confidence to try football is really important.
“As England players, we are always happy to see girls taking part in football and want to use our platform to inspire more people to play.”
Further information, relevant to the appropriate age group, can be found at:
Primary schools – faskills.thefa.com
Secondary schools – http://www.TheFA.com/schools
Universities – http://www.bucs.org.uk/womensfootballoffer
Participating institutions are encouraged to complete a survey about their planned activity, which will also enter them into a draw to win a visit from an England player and a signed England shirt. The survey can be found here.
Further information on women and girls football participation can be found at http://www.thefa.com/womens-girls-football/participation