Gabi: “I thought it might be difficult being one of few girls on the team – but everyone is treated exactly the same.”

To mark International Women’s Day 2018, EFL Trust have highlighted the efforts of motivated teenager Gabrielle Richardson, who has ambitions of becoming a full-time PE teacher.

Gabrielle, who is a current student on the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme with Mansfield Town in the Community, says the support she has received from the club on her education pathway has been second to none.

After undertaking her GCSE’s and not getting the grades she had initially hoped for, the 16-year-old was unsure of what route to take next.

However an opportunity to go on the Traineeship programme with Mansfield Town helped to set her on a career pathway.

The EFL Trust Traineeship programme is designed to help those struggling academically to gain work experience and learn new skills based at a professional football club.

For 3 months, students spend 3 days a week shadowing professional members of club staff and community football coaches whilst obtaining valuable insight into working in the variety of opportunities in sport and leisure.

It was during her time as a trainee when Gabrielle realised her career aspiration – to become a full-time PE teacher.

She commented: “The Traineeship programme was brilliant for me and the staff at the club have been so supportive from day one.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to coach young children the most. It’s so fulfilling as I was in their position once and to pass on your knowledge and experience is the best.

“Coaching and inspiring young people has made me realise I would really love to one day become a PE teacher.’’

After completing the Traineeship, Gabrielle enjoyed her time with Mansfield Town that much, she continued onto the club’s BTEC Futsal and Education Programme.

Gabrielle is one of three females out of 13 students on the programme and admits she felt a little reluctant about this at first.

She continued: “At first, I thought it might be quite difficult being one of few girls on the team, but it’s never been an issue.

“You see no difference in training and the lads really accepted us from day one – we’re all treated exactly the same.

“I would highly recommend the Futsal and Education Programme to anyone.’’

Looking forward, as well as achieving the results she wants, Gabrielle is also hoping to become a female role model at a local school next year, working alongside the school’s female football development coach.

Elizabeth Regan, Education Officer at Mansfield Town in the Community, has been supporting Gabrielle throughout her time as a trainee and on the Futsal programme.

Elizabeth commented: “When Gabrielle first started with us, she was very quiet and wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do.

“It was clear from day one that she is very pro-active in getting involved with everything and is brilliant at coaching the young children, she is a fantastic female role model.

“She has really developed her confidence and I have no doubt that if she continues to work hard, she would one day make a fantastic PE teacher.’’

To find out more about the EFL Trust Futsal and Education programme visit:


International Women’s Day – 8th March

March 8 sees the annual International Women’s Day campaign kick-off for the year ahead, with this year’s theme focusing around #PressforProgress.

Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.

International Women’s Day is not country, group or organisation specific. The day belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. So together, let’s all be tenacious in accelerating gender parity. Collectively, let’s all Press for Progress.

To find out more visit:


EFL Kids Cup finalists in safe hands at Rovers

Blackburn Rovers goalkeepers David Raya and Jayson Leutwiler offered their support to the club’s EFL Kids Cup finalists Whitefield Primary by hosting a special hour long training session with the school.

The training session, which was held on the 4G surface at Priory Academy in Penwortham, Preston, was in preparation for the regional finals of the competition next month.

Raya and Leutwiler held a variety of different sessions including passing, dribbling and of course, their speciality, goalkeeping, for the primary schools young shot stoppers.

The children finished off with a mini game between themselves, which provided Raya and Leutwiler the opportunity to observe and offer any advice leading up to Whitefield’s EFL Kids Cup showdown in March at Wigan Athletic’s Robin Park Arena.

A win for Whitefield and Rovers will see the South Ribble based primary school don the famous blue and white jersey at Wembley Stadium in May in the EFL Kids Cup final ahead of the League One Play-Off final.

Leutwiler, who lives less than a mile away from Whitefield, hopes they can go all the way and reach the EFL Kids Cup final at the home of English football.

“We were there to offer advice and help Whitefield prepare for their matches coming up,” admitted the Canadian international.

“They all seemed to enjoy the training session we put on and straight away we could tell how much they love football.

“They are now playing for a chance to reach Wembley and I am sure it will be a dream come true for them if they can go all the way. I really hope they do well and I wish them all the best in the regional finals.”

To find out more information about the EFL Kids Cup visit:

HRH Duke of Cambridge lends support to Cambridge United’s ambitious new community strategy – Gameplan 2020

Cambridge United Community Trust received support from His Royal Highness Prince William the Duke of Cambridge as they launched Game Plan 2020, the Club’s new strategy for community work over the next three years.

Game Plan 2020 builds on Cambridge United Community Trust’s work to date and adds a further 12 programmes. The 30 initiatives across the areas of health, education and inclusion all aim to help create a fairer and more prosperous Cambridge for all.  It includes new projects in mental health, literacy and loneliness alongside deepening existing work in disability sports, science in schools and volunteering. Details of all projects can be read here.

In his foreword to the strategy document Game Plan 2020 HRH The Duke of Cambridge said:

“Cambridge United is a very close neighbour of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, where I was a pilot for two years, at the heart of a community to which I have a very strong personal connection. It is encouraging to see how active the Club is in the local area – from running lunch clubs for pensioners through to hosting disability football sessions for all groups. The Club’s new mental health programme for young people is particularly innovative and important.

“Cambridge United is the epitome of a good community-based Club. The ambition of the Cambridge United Community Trust, on behalf of the Club in the local community, is one that many other football clubs – big and small – could learn from across the Country. It is great to see Cambridge United raise this ambition further and look to build on their outstanding community work of recent years. By focusing even more help on those who need it most, the Trust will ensure thousands of local people can benefit from the positive power of football. Good luck with the important work.”

Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, said “It is great to see Cambridge United using the power of sport to have such a positive impact in their local community. Their new strategy – Gameplan 2020 – will build on the great work of their Community Trust and am sure will be a big success. I am particularly pleased to see the Club starting a new mental health programme in schools next year. I know myself just how sport can make such a difference to a person’s mental well being.”

Martin Glenn, CEO of the Football Association, said: “The work of the Cambridge United Community Trust is a shining example of how a professional football club can be a true force for good in its local community. It is great to see the Trust extending the chance to play the game to every part of society – from people with different disabilities to senior citizens who still love to kick a ball. The Club is now setting out its new ambitions to do even more to tackle inequality and provide opportunity. Everyone at the FA wishes them every success with these exciting plans.”

Graham Daniels, Chair of Cambridge United Community Trust, said: “Everyone associated with Cambridge United is honoured that HRH The Duke of Cambridge has endorsed our community work in this way. We are proud to have such high level support for the important work of our Trust from Government and the Football Association. It is testament to the hard work and passion of all the staff and volunteers who have done so much to drive the Trust’s work since it was formed. The Trust has been an important symbol of the Club’s desire to become a genuine community club that uses the power of sport to help every part of Cambridge wherever we can, 7 days a week.

“Cambridge is a fantastic global city. It is world class in so many different ways. And we are proud that our Club is based here. It is also however a city which is home to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country – many of whom live very close to our home at the Abbey Stadium. The Abbey Ward has, for example, the highest degree of child poverty in Cambridge.

“The social responsibility to do more for these groups and to help close the inequality gap falls at least in part to organisations such as Cambridge United through the Community Trust. We believe that Gameplan 2020 with its 30 programmes focused on the areas of health, education and inclusion can help create a fairer and more prosperous Cambridge for all.”

– Trust to increase number of community programmes to 30 to help all parts of the City

– Tracey Crouch, Sports Minister, and Martin Glenn, CEO of the FA, also endorse Trust’s work

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

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
  • Entry fee £30 per team – plus admin fee of £2.45 if booking online at
  • tournament-tickets-28311050113
    Closing date for entries 30th April 2017.

For further information contact

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.


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 Stadium. Delivered by Sussex County FA, attendees worked on various different modules to prepare them for coaching activity with the Community Foundation.

Scunthorpe United Clinch National Finals Title

The National Finals continued last week, and it was the turn of the boys from League 2 as all 16 teams journeyed to the International Futsal Arena in Birmingham.

The teams were split in to four groups of four teams, each team playing three matches with the top two teams qualifying for the knockout stages.

In Group A Southampton toped the group and were unbeaten with 9 points, in second place were Norwich with 6 points while Bradford City and Huddersfield Town finished the group with 3 and 0 points respectively.

In Group B Grimsby Town were also unbeaten finishing on 7 points after a draw earlier in the group, Shrewsbury finished second in a close group on 5 points with Brentford missing out by just 1 point finishing on 4 points ahead of Mansfield on 0 points.

In Group C Reading were dominant and finished the group with maximum points, conceding just two goals. Notts County finished second on 4 points while Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers finished on 2 and 1 points respectively.

In Group D Scunny topped the group with 9 points while Plymouth Argyle made it through on 4 points, beating Cardiff City who finished on 3 points and Newport County on 1 point to complete the group stage.

The Quarter Finals started with Southampton v Shrewsbury Town, in a tight match the Shrews came through victorious while in the second Quarter Final Reading beat Plymouth Argyle to book their spot.

The Iron kept up their unbeaten streak for the day beating Notts County, while in the closest match of the knockout stages and The Canaries went all the way to penalties, the Mariners coming through in sudden death.

scun united futsal 2

On to the Semi Finals and Scunthorpe were again dominant in the North East clash beating Grimsby to book their place in the final while it was Shrewsbury Town who made it through in the other Semi beating Reading.

On to the Final and a first for Shrewsbury, the match was a fast paced affair with both teams attacking from the start but it was Scunny who gained an early lead before seeing the match out 5 – 2 to become Champions of the League 2 National Finals.

Kinder + Sport Kids Cup Finals at Wembley

The Kinder + Sport Kids Cups on the hallowed Wembley turf saw a Wimbledon double bill, the best goal of the playoff weekend and the dreams of 48 children come true. Prior to making it to Wembley, all those that took part had to go through a number of qualifying stages to represent their local teams.

In the League 1 final, Norton Free Primary School representing Sheffield United, met Eye Primary School representing Peterborough United, and following a dominant display ran out 1-0 victory! Mackenzie Maltby scored an absolute screamer of a goal… arguably the best of the Play-Off weekend! Although the Norton players saw a lot of the ball in the first half they were unable to take their chances, with Ben Kemp, Danny Church and Bradley Taylor all going close. The winning goal came in the 2nd half when a throw from Frankie Hirst found Danny Church, who passed it onto Mackenzie Maltby who struck a first time shot from 20 yards into the top right corner. It was a goal worthy of winning any game at any level and the full time whistle brought amazing celebrations amongst the Norton Free players.

Represented by Hilton Primary School, Derby County were crowned as the champions of the Kinder+ Sport Football League Kids Cup at Wembley Stadium, winning 2-0 over Ipswich Town represented by Britannia Primary School! Captain Kaide Gordon opened the scoring with a fine long-range effort in the first half before he turned provider for Jack Harrison in the second period.

Cleves School represented AFC Wimbledon in the League 2 finals, taking on Mansfield Town represented by Samuel Barlow Primary School. Wimbledon dominated most of the game claiming a 2-0 victory, despite an uneventful first half with Mansfield captain Aidan Reader taking a long-range free-kick, and Vigrass also seeing his effort steer narrowly wide of the post. Dons turned on the style in the second half, and went ahead through Munroe after he planted his shot into the bottom-left corner. Vigrass followed it up with a similar strike, rounding three Stags players before also finding the bottom corner of the net, ensuring AFC Wimbledon’s name was etched onto the Kinder+Sport Kids Cup trophy.
kids cup- AFC wimbledon

kids cup- afc wimbledon

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!”