A Visit to the Houses of Parliament for #GirlsFootballWeek – 24th April 2018

Some time ago, we were told that there was a group of women who were looking at setting up the first Women’s Parliamentary Football Team. So, when we received an email from the FA to say that the new team had taken part in their first training session, with the Chelsea FC Foundation, that was music to our ears!

Not only were we extremely pleased to hear this news, we were excited to be asked to play them in their first friendly, which should be in the very near future.

Photo courtesy of CFC Foundation.

In the FA’s Gameplan for Growth, the target is to double participation of women and girls, in football, by 2020 and, no doubt, seeing the new Women’s Parliamentary Football Team take shape, this will inspire many more women to go and play football for fun. Some of the women haven’t played before and Jo Tanner, who is running the team, was keen to get more women involved.  You can follow the exploits of the team on Twitter, as they begin their journey, at @UKWPFC.

Jo Tanner (r) is pictured with Sandra Rees, Carol Bates & Karen Turner from the COGS.

As well as inspiring other women to don their boots and play, the women were on hand for the FA’s Parliamentary Event to promote #GirlsFootballWeek, which is running from April 23rd to April 29th.

The FA’s National Women’s Football Participation Manager, Rachel Pavlou, along with England and Arsenal Legend Rachel Yankey OBE, spoke to invited guests (including some MPs) about encouraging more women and girls to play football.   We also had the pleasure of discussing the COGS with various guests and hopefully encouraged some of them to set up sessions in their local areas!

Carol Bates, Sandra Rees & Karen Turner representing the COGS, with Rebecca Lister (FA), Rachel Yankey OBE, Jo Tanner (WPFC), Rachel Pavlou, Molly Pike & Isabella Sibley (CFC EDS).

One project which has really taken off for young girls is the new Wildcats programme, which was launched in 2017. This scheme, run by the FA and sponsored by SSE, is aimed at young girls aged between 5-11.  With the programme being run by professional football clubs, County FAs and grassroots’ football clubs, it provides regular opportunities for engaging with girls only, in a fun and encouraging environment.  To see so many new Wildcats’ sessions being held during #GirlsFootballWeek was amazing, especially the number of young girls joining for their first time.  Long may this continue!

The future for Women and Girls’ Football is looking extremely bright and with #GirlsFootballWeek again promoting some great initiatives, it surely won’t be long before that target for 2020 is reached!  It was great to be part of the Event and we hope that more “older” women will be encouraged to start learning to play football, throughout 2018 and beyond.

Photo by Kate Green – FA

If you want to read more about Women and Girls’ Football, you can go to the FA’s website here: https://forgirls.thefa.com/