First Women’s Walking Football Competition Honours Pioneers

The very first women’s national walking football tournament is set to take place in Preston, Lancashire on Sunday 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

In the history of women’s football, The Dick, Kerr Ladies are the most successful team in the world. They were formed at the Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd munitions factory in Preston, Lancashire during the First World War, these very ordinary factory girls from Preston quite literally took the country by storm.

On Christmas Day 1917, 10,000 spectators came to Deepdale, the home of Preston North End Football Club, to witness the start of the most phenomenal success story in the history of women’s sport. Dick, Kerr Ladies notched up the first of many famous victories whilst raising £600 for wounded soldiers.

On Boxing Day 1920, 53,000 spectators packed into Goodison Park, Everton, to see the Dick, Kerr Ladies take on St Helens Ladies, with another 14,000 people locked out and unable to gain admission to the ground. Another victory was recorded for the Dick, Kerr team and an incredible amount of £3,115 was raised for charity.

During the War the Government appointed women welfare supervisors and sent them into the factories to oversee the physical well-being of the factory girls and encourage the development of sporting activities. Among those activities was football, and football became the official sport of the munitions girls. Almost every factory across the United Kingdom involved in war work, had a ladies football team.

Incredibly, in 1921 the FA banned womens football, setting back the development of the womens game for decades. However, the Dick, Kerr ladies continued to play football around the world until 1965 leaving behind a glittering legacy.

For more on the story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies visit www.dickkerrladies.com

Tournament Details

The first national women’s walking football competition will be held in Preston on 2nd July 2017 to commemorate 100 years of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

  • Teams of 6-A-Side Women (squad of up to 9 women players with flexi-substitutions)
  • Two age groups – Over 40’s and Over 50’s
  • Over 50’s Teams must consist of over 50’s Women (with two women players under 50 permitted, but with only one under 50 on the pitch at any time)
  • Over 40’s Teams must consist of over 40’s Women (with two women players under 40 permitted, but with only one under 40 on the pitch at any time)
  • National Tournament Official Rules and more information at www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk
  • Entry fee £30 per team – plus admin fee of £2.45 if booking online at www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dick-kerr-ladies-cup-national-womens-walking-football-
  • tournament-tickets-28311050113
    Closing date for entries 30th April 2017.

For further information contact mel@pne.com

FFD: 3 years of success

Our Female Football Development (FFD) programme, run in partnership with the Premier League and thanks to funding from the FA and Sport England, is reaching the end of it’s third successful year.

We have engaged over 45,000 women in the project, 21% of which were from a BAME background. Since 2013, 96% of the women involved are still involved in football or other sports activity.

Jordan Nobbs Player App

A further injection of funding from The Mayor of London’s office has allowed a number of clubs from the capital city to unite to specifically target women who struggle to exercise and keep active. The clubs offered a range of fitness and exercise activities to groups such as the over 40’s or those with a disability.

The project has seen the first ever EFL Trust Football Festival for women over 30 take place at Wembley’s Lucozade Powerleague with over 80 women taking part! The day highlighted the social aspect of women’s football and really emphasized how far women’s football has progressed in the past 3 years. Morale was high, giving the ladies the perfect opportunity to display the skills they had practiced in weekly sessions.

FFD has given a generation of women who missed the female football revolution a chance to get involved. Two women who joined Crawley Town’s COGS initiative after standing on the side lines for years have now gone a step further and qualified as FA Level One coaches. Carol Bates and Maria Iula Harris are from a generation of women that missed the female football revolution but thanks to the EFL Trust FFD programme they have taken up the sport later in life and have now begun delivering coaching sessions to the rest of the COGS! This qualification could benefit the ladies for years to come, really highlighting the longevity of the projects success and making it apparent that FFD has made a real impact on female football participation which will live on for years to come.

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Julie Cartmell is another lady who has been bitten by the football bug, she attended over 25’s ladies sessions in Brentford since it began in February. It is aimed at engaging ladies that have never kicked a ball to get involved in the game within a fun, social environment. Julie another lady born into the generation that football missed, and is elated that it is now her time to do what she loves! Over the summer, Brentford Women’s FC held trials for any player’s wanting to join the new Development Team. After successfully passing her trial, Julie has now joined the team and will regularly be training and playing in matches, representing Brentford Women’s FC!

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Nicol Meredith, Project Manager for FFD commented: “The project has been an amazing success with over 45,000 women and girls being introduced to football over 3 years. Across the EFL we have changed the landscape of the game and will continue to build for many years to come. The key to success has been our strong partnership across each County FA, along with the use female roles models and a touch of innovation.  We didn’t only increase participation but we inspired a generation of girls and women.”

The project will now extend into its 4th year which is a testament to the hard work and achievement of each club!

First Ever Over 30’s Football Festival for Women

Women from the generation that missed the female football revolution took a trip to Wembley at the weekend to enjoy the first ever EFL Trust Football festival for women aged over 30. The Festival at Lucozade Powerlegue saw over 80 women take part across 8 teams representing 6 clubs: Crawley Town, AFC Wimbledon, Swindon, Brentford, Dagenham and Redbridge and Coventry City. The talented AFC Wimbledon took the winning titles for both the plate and the cup on the day, whilst Sue Keeka from Brentford took the title for top goal scorer.

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Being the EFL Trust’s first ever football festival for Women aged over 30, morale was high and the day was fun filled. This gave the ladies the opportunity to display the skills they practice in weekly sessions in a competitive but relaxed environment, whilst socialising with ladies of similar ability and background.

Former Millwall Lionesses player, and FFD ambassador Dionne Lennon made an appearance on the day and was thrilled to support the ladies and see the skills on show, she commented: “What an amazing day…. It was great speaking to some of the players and hearing their stories about why they started playing football and what it has done for them was fantastic. The atmosphere was great despite the competitive edge to the games!  It was a real pleasure to attend.”

Last year, The Crawley Cogs developed sessions specifically for older ladies, the generation that missed the female football revolution. These sessions were developed specifically for ladies who have an interest and passion for football but have stood on the side lines for years: mums of grass roots players, season ticket holders, and anyone who may not have had the opportunity to participate before. From there there has been a progression in the development of over 30’s football teams. Evidently, there has been a real boom in participation in the older age range.  With over 500 women aged 30 and above now actively playing football with our clubs, there has been a 346% increase on year 1 of the FFD programme.

Carol Bates, one of the founding members of COGS, added: “It was fantastic to see so many over 30s ladies take part in the first ever tournament of its kind, nationally. After starting with 10 ladies at our first COGS session it was incredible to think that this had led to teams from other EFL Clubs coming together and enjoying football.”

We caught up with some of the COG’s players and they had a chat with us about why they love football:

Rachel Pavlou from the FA commented:

“We are delighted that the EFL Trust provided such a fantastic opportunity for these women to play football and we would like to thank all the clubs that took part… The FA has an ambitious target of doubling female participation and so initiatives like this, to provide opportunities for women over the age of 30, are crucial in helping us achieve these aims… many of these women have barely played football as there haven’t been the chances for them before, so we hope that this encourages them to keep playing the game. We would also like to thank Powerleague for providing the facilities as part of the good work that they are doing to increase the number of women that play football in their centres.”

 

Women Over 30’s Festival at Wembley’s Powerleague: Preview

Ladies around the country are preparing for the Women over 30’s Festival as Wembley’s Powerleague this weekend!

This will be the first ever football tournament for women over 30, hosted by the EFL Trust, and funded through the Female Football Development (FFD) programme.

With a 346% increase in women’s participation in the first year of the FFD Programme, 500 women over the age of 30 are now playing football with EFL clubs. The boom in participation has meant the demand for competitive football has increased and this festival, taking place outside of Wembley Stadium  has presented a fantastic opportunity to do so.

There will be 8 teams taking part, representing 6 clubs;

AFC Wimbledon, Coventry City, Swindon Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Crawley COGS, and Brentford.

All of the women taking part are over 30 years old, many of which missed the female football revolution, many of these women have never had the opportunity to play at this level before, with the oldest participant being 56! This programme has had countless benefits for the ladies, allowing them to socialise with other women similar to themselves, as well as get fit in a fun, and non-discriminatory environment.

Nicol Meredith, Project Manager of the FFD Programme comments:

“The FFD programme has come on leaps and bounds since it begun and has brought the benefits of sport to women and to girls who previously might not have considered playing football. The relaxed, social atmosphere has encouraged thousands of players back to the sport who previously left the game. The ladies find it extremely the sessions liberating so to now play in the first Over 30’s women’s festival at Wembley has presented them with an opportunity not to be missed!”

Former Millwall player, and FFD ambassador, Dionne Lennon is delighted to be making an appearance at Powerleague on the day and is looking forward to seeing the skills on display. She commented:

“The Female Football Development programme is brilliant and has really made an impact. The EFL Trust has done a fantastic job getting women back into playing football and attracting those who have never had the chance to play this great game. It’s a pleasure for me to have been asked by Millwall Community Trust to be their  FFD Ambassador and I am really looking forward to be attending the tournament on Sunday and any future inovlement to support and grow the women’s game even further.”

We would like to thank Sport England and the FA for funding this programme, as well as Lucozade Powerleague for providing their pitches on the day and working along side us to further enhance female football participation.

Crawley Old Girls Get Into Coaching

Two ladies from Crawley who’ve stood on the side lines for years have just qualified as FA level One coaches.

Carol Bates and Maria Iula Harris are from a generation of women that missed the female football revolution but thanks to the EFL Trust FFD programme they’ve taken up the sport later in life. They were introduced to football by Crawley Town’s COGS (Crawley Old Girls Initiative), which was developed specifically for older ladies, who have an interest and passion for football, but who may not have had the opportunity to participate before. In addition, the ladies have used their newly developed skills recently to help deliver a session to the rest of the COGS ladies, supporting grassroots football.

Nicol Mererdith from the EFL Trust commented: “It’s really fantastic that the COGS ladies have had this opportunity. Our FFD programme has certainly been a catalyst for women now taking the level 1 award. It’s evident that this will further develop the workforce, and create role models for future generations”.

Participant Carol Bates: “It was great to have the opportunity to take the FA Level 1 coaching course locally, at Crawley Town FC. As a local youth Club Secretary I usually only get involved with all the paperwork but it certainly gave me a good insight into how much work coaches put in when they coach our children. Having been on the sidelines as a parent for over 10 years it gave me a much greater understanding of planning sessions and what goes into running them. It’s given me a great deal of information to take on board and now I’m helping run a new U11s girls’ team, for our club Crawley United, I’ll be putting it into practice too!”

Maria Iula Harris commented: “I joined COGS just over a year ago for a bit of fun with some friends. Little did I realise that Thursday nights would become my favourite night of the week where I would get to don my football boots! Then, after only a year, I as so inspired that I decided to become a Level 1 football coach, which I passed successfully. I will be looking to start an U8 girls football team in September. I thank my lucky stars that I was given the opportunity to join a team like COGS and now I ill hopefully be inspiring young girls to take up the great game of football.”

The grant of £2000 from Crawley Town FC and the FA Community Shield Fund, allowed six young people as part of the Crawley Town Scholarship Fund to complete the FA Level 1 Award in Coaching at the Checkatrade.com Stadium. Delivered by Sussex County FA, attendees worked on various different modules to prepare them for coaching activity with the Community Foundation.

Brentford FC Over 25’s Ladies Take Part in Charity Football Tournament

Brentford FC’s New Year, New You session started in partnership with Middlesex FA at the beginning of February targeted women over 25 to get involved in football. The session is held at West Ealing Bowls & Social Club on Monday evenings 7-8pm and has engaged over 20 women in the 12 weeks it has been running! It is a very social session where no previous experience or ability is necessary, just a fun environment to learn and play the game.

On Sunday 24th April, the ladies entered a charity tournament, for some it would be their first ever competitive match in football. Brentford Women’s FC club captain, Charlotte Tanner has been supporting the session by regularly attending the Monday evening session and was also with the ladies for the tournament. Charlotte spoke to us about the day.

“When Maria asked the ladies to play in a tournament for charity, all the ladies got really excited! She explained it would be against other women teams. ‘I’m not playing against men’ I remember her saying!”

“On the lead up to the tournament the question was shall we enter one or two teams. Lots of ladies who had joined the sessions over the last 3 months were very keen, so two teams it was; Buzzette’s and Queen Bees!”

“We all arrived at Osterley Goals on Sunday 24TH April, wearing the Brentford FC kit which made the ladies even more excited!”

“When the organiser was going through the rules I looked around and there were all male teams, two mixed teams and us! Some of the ladies were nervous as this was their first ever competitive game of football, having never kicked a ball before February but the ladies got straight involved and had a great time, all in aid for charity.”

“Over the course of the day we played around 10 matches. We stuck together as a group and the ladies showed their skills and team work with the guidance from Lorna, Brentford FC CST coach who has worked hard in explaining and teaching the game to all the ladies.”

“We managed to draw two games and win one! It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all the ladies and everyone had a brilliant day out. Here is what’s some of them had to say about it,

Janae Pine, “It was a challenging tournament but we managed to match and beat some of our opponents, I enjoyed every second!”

Sharlene Brown, “It was great fun! Fair play to us for not doing a U-turn when we realised there were no other women! Nice family atmosphere as well.”

Maria Diaper, having never played football before has really supported the session and helped recruit a number of ladies said, “It was fun and enjoyable! We have come so far since we started training, and we have recruited a new player out of playing in the tournament today!”

Charlotte summarised the day and told us more about the FREE session on Monday evening, “It was a great day to show others that women can play football and have so much fun whilst playing!”

“When I go down to the session on a Monday evening, I know I’m going to have a good time. All the ladies are really nice and we have a great time learning about the game I love so much. It’s great to see women coming down with hardly any experience enjoying the sessions and finding and new way to keep fit!”

FA Girls Football Festival at Wembley’s Powerleague

More than 200 U16 girls from 26  Football League and Premier League clubs will take part in a special FA Girls Football Festival on Saturday 14th May from 8.30-13.00, at Wembley’s Powerleague. Ourselves and the Premier League have invited girls’ teams from across the country to take part in the unique 5-a-side tournament, which takes place before Sunday’s SSE Women’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal Ladies and Chelsea Ladies.

The three-year Football Participation Programme, aimed at driving female participation in football, has already seen over 60,000 girls, aged 14 and over, take part in a range of footballing activities, since its launch.

The-FA-Girls-Football-Festival-at-Wembley

Saturday’s event is the pinnacle of the season, with their ongoing hard work and commitment being rewarded by an invite to this fantastic tournament.

This one of a kind scheme is spearheaded by The FA, Sport England, ourselves, and the Premier League, with sessions across the country being delivered by the Premier League and Football League member clubs.

The celebratory FA Girls Football Festival will give the girls a chance to take part in a 5-a-side tournament outside the iconic Wembley Stadium, as well as having the opportunity to challenge their skills with a variety of innovative interactive equipment including Batak boards, Speed Cages, an inflatable target shoot and Quickfeet trials. To further enhance the festival experience, there will be music, hair braiding and face painting taking place throughout the morning’s competitions.

Created in collaboration with Continental Tyres the festivals provide an exciting, interactive football experience for both those new to the game and regular players. So far more than 35,000 girls have taken part in The FA Girls Football Festivals in association with Continental Tyres, which have been running successfully since 2011.

Oxford United Women’s Captain, Katherine Nutman and her teammate Lauren Haynes will be attending to join in with the girls’ activities and answer any questions the girls may have. Also in attendance are Referee Ambassadors Joanna Stimpson and Mary Harmer, delivering a referee workshop while Charlotte Lade will be delivering a freestyle workshop.

With the festival ending at 13.00, the girls will then have the chance to watch their heroes and catch all of the action from the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final in Wembley Stadium, just next door.

FA director of football participation and development, Kelly Simmons, said: “Our festivals, run in partnership with Continental Tyres, have been a huge success since they launched.

“One of our big areas of focus is getting more girls to play football and we are grateful to both The Premier League and The Football League Trust for encouraging and supporting their Clubs to participate in both our participation programme and in this special festival.”

“We also know the power of role models and I am sure that going to watch the SSE Women’s FA Cup final in the stadium, watching an exciting game of football and seeing so many excellent players will be a real inspiration to the girls.”

Guy Frobisher, Marketing Director UK, of Continental Tyres said: “The FA Girls Football Festival with Continental Tyres continues 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 2016 is our 6th year partnering with the FA and undoubtedly is 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”.

Crawley COGS compete in FA People’s Cup Final in Sheffield

On Sunday 20th March, the Crawley COGS descended on Sheffield for the FA People’s Cup final. With two teams entered under the female veterans category, the COGS were placed in a group with four other vets teams from across the country. The first match of the day saw the two COGS teams pitched against each other in a nervous encounter. COGS 2 were the eventual winners, running out 2-1 winners against their peers.

The course of the day saw both teams compete in 10 minute matches against: Football Unites, Racism Divides, N16FC, Hackney Jurassics and the Wolfies. Despite a heroic effort by both COGS teams, it was FURD and Hackney Jurassics who made it to the overall final, with the latter securing the overall bragging rights with a 4-0 victory. crawley cogs2

Despite the results, the COGS had a fantastic day. All games were played in very good spirits, with all teams supportive of each other. Following the games, contact details were exchanged by all teams, with the view of running a summer tournament. All teams have also pledged to do their bit to get more teams involved next year!

Carol Bates is one of the original members of COGS, and has been influential in the success of the programme. She says: “This time last year the COGs (Crawley Old Girls) was just a dream. Since then, we have formed a large group of older ladies for a kickabout on a Thursday night and the COGs have now gone from strength to strength, with the coaching delivered by the Community Foundation.  It really has changed the lives of some of our ‘Old Girls’.”

Amy Fazackerley, FFD lead says: “The ladies should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved over the past year. Their commitment to raising the profile of ‘older’ ladies football has been fantastic. They are so passionate about getting others into the sport and have worked tirelessly to promote and inspire others. To get to a national final less than a year after first kicking a ball is an incredible achievement. In terms of the day itself, it was brilliant to see the teams interacting with each other. It was a day full of laughter, with some new friendships developed on the way too”.

Crawley Town FC and Crawley Town Community Foundation are delighted at this fantastic achievement. In just under a year, the group have gone from never kicking a ball to a national final, and have inspired many along the way. The aim now is to get more older ladies involved.

Football League Trust Celebrates International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day last week, gave us a fantastic opportunity to promote gender equality and celebrate the achievements of women in sport.  Our Female Football Development programme has thousands of Girls involved and is going from strength to strength, so Women’s day was a great way for Community Trusts to share their success and recognise the contribution that women in sport make to society!

Falling on a Tuesday, when Rotherham United faced top of the league Middlesbrough, it seemed fitting to continue the celebrations throughout the night at that fixture. Various different guests were invited along to watch The Millers and to celebrate this annual event, some of the attendees included Brinsworth Whitehill Girls J.F.C, Rotherham United Ladies and participants who attend the ladies Boot camp sessions we deliver at Eastwood Village Community Centre, Thornhill Primary School and Blackburn Youth Club. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1UirkXP

Crawley Town got involved with International Women’s Day by organising a range of activities, including a girls’ football quiz. Participants at one of our FFD venues were tested on their knowledge on the history of women’s football, before they each made a #pledgeforparity. The girls chose football as the topic and pledged to improve gender parity within the sport by making girls football a hot topic amongst their friendship groups, joining a local girl’s team, supporting a football team and attending more matches, and learning more about football. After this, the girls participated in their usual FFD session, but named their teams after the players they most admired; Steph Houghton and Fara Williams.

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With our wider goals being Sport, Education, Inclusion, and Health, International Women’s Day gave our 72 community trusts an opportunity to tackle these, further encouraging female football participation!

The Rise of Female Football

In the past two years, over 30,000 women were recruited onto our Female Football Development programme, and last year a record number of girls were recorded to be participating in our Girl’s Cup. There is no doubt that female football is on the rise. To capitalise on this success, this year’s FA Girls’ Football Week will be expanded to two events to further enhance the rise of female football.

Commencing Monday 25 April, the first week will be centred primarily on the encouragement of primary and secondary schools to make football sessions accessible for girls. The second, taking place between 10th and 16th October, aims to raise participation at higher and further education establishments. In addition to this, clubs, community groups, and wider educational establishments along with other organisations are also being invited to run female-specific sessions during the week.5b_Editorial_Image_O12

In 2015, more than 16,000 people took part in the event, over triple the original target.  It is intended that 17,340 girls aged five to sixteen take part in the first week, a 20% increase on 2015.

The weeks are being delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport, British Universities and Colleges Sport, the Premier League and the EFL Trust.  The FA is offering free-to-use resources to participating schools and institutions, which include session guides and promotional materials.  This can be accessed by registering the session at TheFA.com/GirlsFootballWeek.

Kelly Simmons, FA director of football participation and development, commented on the rise of female football: “Following the success of last year’s event it was decided that we could have an even bigger impact on participation levels by running two weeks, focusing on different areas… we hope that if more schools and groups put these sessions the girls will carry on playing regularly, particularly for teenagers where sport drop-out rates can be high… 2015 was a landmark year for women’s football and there’s no doubt that big occasions such as the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley and the Lionesses achievements at the World Cup had a big impact on inspiring more girls to play”.

England and Chelsea forward Karen Carney said: “I visited one of the Girls’ Football Week sessions last year in Birmingham and it was great to see so many girls enjoying playing football… if schools can create more opportunities for girls to try football, then hopefully more will love playing.”

Football is the largest female team sport in England with more than 2.89 million players.  There are more than 5,900 women’s and girls’ teams playing affiliated club football.

For more information please click here.