Luke Norris - Carnegie School of Sport
Women’s increased participation in football has been dramatic. Football is now the number one participation team sport for women in many countries, including England (UEFA, 2016). However, despite their interest, young girls can still be reluctant to take the first steps to get involved. Mixed gender sessions can come across as intimidating and unfeminine to some girls (Jeanes, 2011). Research by Women in Sport (2015) and Sport England (2014) found that girls are highly motivated by social aspects of participation and very influenced by the behaviour of their friends. Therefore, creating girls-only sessions may provide a more comfortable and social environment for them to take part in football.
The FA is aiming to double girl’s football participation through girls-only sessions. They want to increase the number of registered teams from 6,000 to 12,000 by 2020. An initiative set up by the FA to increase the number of girls playing football are the SSE Wildcats Centre. The SSE Wildcats centres offer girls aged 5-11 regular opportunities to play football and take part in fun and engaging activities created just for girls. A PhD student at Leeds Beckett University, Luke Norris (see picture), has set up an SSE Wildcats Centre at his local club, Leeds City Juniors. You can attend the sessions for £1 a session, every Wednesdays, 5.30-7pm at Adel War Memorial Association (LS16 8DE) from 18th April to 1stThe sessions offer a great opportunity for you to meet lots of other girls who enjoy playing football, learn new things, and be active. The SSE Wildcats centre is run by qualified coaches who will help you learn lots of different skills, whether you’ve kicked a football before or not!”
Girls' Football Week [Monday 23rd April - Sunday 29th April] is a national campaign by the FA to get as many girls as possible playing football. Luke comments, “It’s not only a great way to get active, meet new friends, but also to have fun.” Yet, there’s more. The FA have teamed up with Disney to offer a range of football events full of fun activities and games inspired by well-loved, strong Disney female characters from Zootropolis, Tangled, and Moana. Everyone who signs up to our SSE Wildcats centre for Girls Football week via this link (www.thefa.com/Girlsfootballweek) will get a FREE session, access to three Disney-inspired activity plans to practice your skills at home, as well as a certificate for attending, and a 20 per cent discount voucher to use in Disney stores!
Interested? Know someone who might be? Contact us:
See you there soon!
- Jeanes, R. (2011). ‘I'm into high heels and make up but I still love football’: exploring gender identity and football participation with preadolescent girls. Soccer and Society, 12, 402-420. doi:10.1080/14660970.2011.568107
- Sport England. (2014). Go where women are Insight on engaging women and girls in sport and exercise. Retrieved from www.sportengland.org/media/10083/insight_go-where-women-are.pdf
- UEFA. (2016). Female’s soccer across the national associations 2016/17. Retrieved from www.uefa.com/insideuefa/soccer-development/females-soccer/news/newsid=2431355.html
- Women in Sport. (2015). Changing the game for girls. Retrieved from https://www.womeninsport.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Changing-the-Game-for-Girls-Policy-Report.pdf