#GirlsFootyFest kicks-off new school year in Manchester
The FA Girls’ Football Festivals, in association with Continental Tyres, visited Manchester last Wednesday (16th September). Following a number of fantastic events already completed in 2015, the FA Girls’ Football Festival programme headed to Platt Lane Sports Complex, the HQ of the Manchester County FA to kick-off the new school year in style.
The festivals are a joint initiative by The FA and Continental Tyres, providing girls aged five to 16 with an exciting, interactive football experience for both those new to the game and regular players. Of those that attended events in 2014, 85% said they were very, or quite likely, to start playing football.
These events are a perfect example of The FA’s commitment to getting girls into football as part of their ‘We Can Play’ campaign. The campaign has a focus on getting young girls into football and breaking away from the existing stereotypes. The FA Girls’ Football Festivals were open to young girls from primary schools within Manchester and this particular event had been organised with the support of the Manchester County FA and Manchester Metropolitan University.
The 250-young players that attended the action-packed day had the chance to meet Manchester City Women’s players Toni Duggan and Chelsea Nightingale, as well as Everton Ladies very own Faye Bryson and Danielle Turner who were on hand to discuss life as top-level female footballers and give advice on how to get involved in the game. Not only this, Referee Ambassadors Jane Simms and Jenny Pullen visited to put a class on; and these were all joined by Charlotte Lade-Rogers, one of the world’s leading professional football free-stylers, who demonstrated her amazing football tricks and skills before showing the girls how to do the same.
To add to the festival atmosphere, there were give-aways, hair braiding, face painting and The FA WSL mascot Berry the Bear who competed against The Official FA Cup mascot, Billie the Horse in a mascot dance off.
Kelly Simmons, Director of the National Game and Women’s Football, said: “Growing female participation in football is one of our biggest aims and the festivals give girls the opportunity to try out football in a fun and engaging environment.
“That so many of last year’s participants said they’d like to continue playing football after trying it at the festivals shows how effective programmes like these can be and why it’s important that we take the festivals around the country.
“We’d like to thank Continental Tyres for their continued support for the festivals and women’s football and we’re anticipating another successful year in 2015.”
Guy Frobisher, Marketing Director at Continental Tyres, added: “The FA Girls Football Festivals with Continental Tyres continue to grow year on year, giving tens of thousands of young girls from around the country the chance to get involved with the sport. At Continental Tyres we are extremely proud that 2015 is our 5th year partnering with the FA and is undoubtedly set to be the biggest and best so far. Who knows, perhaps in a few years’ time we may see a number of our festival attendees playing for their country!”
The event that was superbly organised was aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game. With the help of staff from The FA, Manchester County FA, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester College the FA Girls’ Football Festival brought together schools from across the county to test their skills in a range of activities combining football, fun and music.
FA approved coaches and referees led the event with sessions from the FA Skills team included in the day. The girls got a chance to practice drills, interactive games, mini matches and the ContiWarmUp Programme - the coaching programme from Continental Tyres endorsed by the FA.
Polly Fildes, Women’s Football National Project Officer for The FA, said: “The girls at Manchester’s event are high in spirits after a great few hours of fun and football. We had some incredible role models in attendance from Everton Ladies and Manchester City Women and the young players couldn't wait to get involved in all the activities.
“Getting such a high number of girls attending the event shows the emphasis and commitment that The FA and Continental Tyres put into getting the message out that football isn't just for boys, continuing the theme of The FA’s #WeCanPlay campaign.
“It’s a great time to be involved with women’s football. The Women’s Super League is going from strength to strength and grassroots participation is exceeding all expectations following this year’s World Cup. It’s fantastic and these are only going to continue to grow as more and more girls get excited about football.”
Toni Duggan, Manchester City Women and England striker, finished off the event with: “It’s been a great event in Manchester. The girls are loving the experience and have got some really good skills on show - hopefully we will see them at a Women’s Super League game soon.
“About half of the girls here have previously been to a Women’s Super League match and by the end of the day they were all saying they wanted to attend one. If we, as players, can inspire just one girl to join a team, that’s all we can ask for. These girls are the future of our sport.”
To pledge your support to girls’ football, please visit: www.TheFA.com/WeCanPlay
To find out more about women’s football and for a full list of fixtures, visit: www.fawsl.com
For the Manchester Evening News' take on the event, please click the link: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/man-city-women-stars-happy-10081913