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.
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.
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