Around 60 women took part in the first ever EFL Trust Women’s Walking Football Cup hosted at St George’s Park, home of England Football Club’s training ground.
Walking football, as the name suggests, is a slow-paced version of the beautiful game aimed specifically at over 50’s and is designed to help the older generation keep an active lifestyle.
The inaugural EFL Trust Women’s Walking Football Cup finals involved six teams of women from across the UK, all representing their local EFL Club.
Lincoln City, Preston North End, Bradford City, Birmingham City and two teams from Crawley Town participated in the tournament that took place on the famous David Beckham pitch.
It was a close contest on the day, with each team playing 7 games of ten minutes in total and the deciding game, going all the way to penalties, as Birmingham City defeated Crawley Town to claim the 2018 Cup.
Lorraine Robinson, a former full-time footballer for Aston Villa Ladies FC and Birmingham City Ladies FC, who was a part of the winning team said:
“I had butterflies in the build up to this just like I did when I played my first match at 15 years old.
“I stopped playing the game ten years ago after a career at Aston Villa and Birmingham City and then came across walking football through one of my friends here today.
“It’s phenomenal really what EFL Trust have done with walking football, it’s given me a new lease of life.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re 2, 22 or 82… there’s football out there for you and you’re only as old as you feel.”
Donna Waldron, who represented Bradford City in the finals, had never played football before being introduced to walking football. She commented:
“My daughter plays football and one of the coaches at her sessions asked me if I wanted to join the mum’s walking football team, so I went down and joined in.
“I’d never played football before this but I really enjoyed it. I love the buzz you get when you score a goal.
“It’s amazing to say that I’m playing for Bradford City Football Club at St George’s Park where England train.”
Rachel Pavlou, National Women’s Football Participation Manager at the FA said:
“We are really pleased at the number of clubs who have provided women’s walking football teams here today in the first ever EFL Trust tournament.
“The FA, EFL Trust, the Premier League and the National League are all working at getting more women around the country playing walking football.
“The exciting thing is that we contacted all of the Clubs before this and a large number have already said that they want to start women’s walking football sessions.
“That means it can only grow from here and hopefully next year we will have even more teams involved in this competition.”
EFL Trust would like to thank the FA for their support in organising and hosting the event as well as helping to provide opportunities to grow Women’s Walking Football across the country.
To find out more information about how you can get involved in Women’s Walking Football contact NMeredith@efltrust.com