#COGSEUROFEST22 – A Day of Fun Women’s Recreational Football – 10th July 2022


A year ago, we started planning the Festival, as part of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Legacy Programme.   Working with the Legacy Group for Brighton & Hove, we wanted to make sure that we created as many opportunities as possible for women 30+ to be able to play in a fun Festival. We contacted Oakwood FC, as one of our COGS is also a member of the Oakwood FC committee and it was agreed that we could use their ground to run the Festival, with 6 pitches, catering for 48 teams.  This was quite ambitious but with the experience of both COGS & Oakwood and a 5 page “To do list”, we thought we could pull this off!  The challenge was on….

It was made clear that this wasn’t a competition for trophies, it was going to be a fun day for everyone to enjoy playing football and for making new friends.  Within a week of promoting the event, we already had 32 teams entered.  That is testament to how quickly Women’s Recreational Football has been growing over the last few years.  Soon after, we nearly had the full 48 teams booked in, amounting to over 450 women participating.  Unfortunately, some teams had to withdraw but we still had 42 teams in total, on the day.

Over the next 6 months and with funding from the Legacy Project we planned and organised the finer details of the Festival.  Each team was to play as a country involved in the Top 2 of each group of the real WEURO2022 competition and there would be awards for Team of the Group – Winner & Runner-up, as well as 2 Player of the Group awards for each group.  The POTG awards were handcrafted by Jo Blackman of the Bags and are always a great hit with the recipients!

Each team was marked for each game by the referees, for qualities such as good team spirit, good football, helping others, being good advocates of the game etc. and the same went for the Players of the Group.  Country flag tattoos were included in the welcome packs and were encouraged, along with flags for each team and some UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 goodies.

All the referees were organised by our former COG and now Brighton Seagals Coach/Sussex County FA Referee, Karen Dare and we really wanted to have an all-female group.  Karen worked hard to recruit them and we included some referees who came from the Legacy Programme, itself.  There was a little “shriek” when the last referee was recruited, which meant that the target had been reached.  It was a pretty special occasion to have a group of 12 female referees!  Thank you to Karen, Lucy, Georgia, Lottie, Poppy, Amy K, Esme, Izzy, Kayleigh, Neve, Catherine and Amy H, the feedback we had was excellent.

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

We also had another group of wonderful girls who were our Runners, bringing back the scorecards and looking after each pitch.  Maria’s U12 Oakwood girls were our fantastic Runners and we can’t thank Lacey, Leah, Lucy, Emily, Yasmin, Cora, Kaylee, Diya, Zohal, Lily, Avie and all the parents for the fantastic support that the girls gave us, especially after playing in a tournament the day before.

Each Pitch/group was named after one of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 stadiums, so we had the following pitches:  Old Trafford, St. Mary’s, Bramall Lane, Stadium MK, Brentford Community Stadium and the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium pitch.

The first 4 pitches were for the Beginners/Intermediate teams and the last 2 pitches included the Intermediate/Advanced teams.  Games were 12 minutes each and in 27 degree heat, that was plenty of time!

The sweat was real, the sleeves were tucked in to make team shirts into vests and it was a good job we had an outside drinking water tap!  The bar was open too, which helped with the thirst!

We were delighted to welcome our VIPs, who included Polly Bancroft, Sharon Muxworthy, Rachel Pavlou, Kelly Simmons OBE, Henry Smith, MP, Emma Sykes and Thura KT Win.  A special award was given to Pav for all the support and friendship she has given to the Women’s Rec. Football Community.


We were also pleased that Emma was able to join one of our teams to play some football.

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Throughout the day, the camaraderie between the teams was great to see and some new friendships were made.

Teams from around the country came for the day from Wales, Liverpool, Staffordshire and Walsall to name a few.

After the games, we held the Presentation where the following teams/countries won awards, listed below:

Old Trafford

Team of the Group Winner – Women United Dagenham – GERMANY

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Team of the Group Runner up – Canterbury Old Bags Green – FRANCE

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

St. Mary’s Stadium

Team of the Group Winner – Horsham Eagles – FRANCE

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Team of the Group Runner up – Turf Chicks 2 – SWEDEN

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Bramall Lane

Team of the Group Winner – Penarth Women FC Blue – ENGLAND

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Team of the Group Runner up – COGS Yellow – NORWAY

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Stadium MK

Team of the Group Winner – Kings Hill Ladies – NETHERLANDS

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Team of the Group Runner up – COGS Purple – SWEDEN

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Brentford Community Stadium

Team of the Group Winner – Eastbourne Borough Rec. – SPAIN

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Team of the Group Runner up – Lambeth Allstars – NORWAY

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022

Brighton & Hove Community Stadium

Team of the Group Winner – Rainford Athletic Lionesses – ENGLAND

COGS Euro’s Festival 10th July 2022 held at Oakwood Football Ground
Credit Simon Dack / Telephoto Images

Team of the Group Runner up – Canterbury Old Bags White – NETHERLANDS

COGC Euro’s Festival 2022 at Oakwood Football Club 10th July 2022


Two players from each group were awarded our special hand crafted bottle opener awards, by Jo Blackman from the Bags, and were as follows:

Laya – Turf Chicks  Lorna – Women United Dagenham  Annika – Horsham Eagles  Ellie – Clapton CFC  Lisa – COGS (there were 2 Lisas so they are still deciding who keeps it!)  Gemma – Walsall Vets  Gemma – Kings Hill Ladies  Charlotte – Canterbury Old Bags  Alice – Lambeth Allstars  Zoe – COGS  Debs – Rainford Athletic Lionesses  Kerry – MK United 030

Overall Country Winner – England!  

England won the Country award, well we say award but it was basically 12 bottles of Prosecco and 100 plastic Prosecco glasses and it didn’t take long for players from all of the England teams to come and get their award!

Players representing all the England teams were quickly on hand to receive their Prosecco!

There was music, food, flags everywhere (representing countries included in the real Competition) and a lot of sunshine!  We also had a minute’s applause at 11.30am to remember Anne (Waddy) Waddington who played for The Liverbirds for many years and who sadly passed away earlier this year.  The Liverbirds dedicated this Festival to “Waddy”.


We were also pleased to welcome Finnish TV Channel Yle (like the BBC in Finland) who were following the National Team around and came to do a piece on Women’s Recreational Football.

You can watch the excellent piece which was aired at HT during the England vs. Norway game here:

The theme on our banners was “Be Inspired – Be Inspiring” which is our COGS’ motto and with the “Inspired by England 2022” logo, the day was the epitome of inspiration.  Many stories come from the women who start playing football at a later age and we certainly weren’t short of them at the Festival.  Sue, who had recently had a heart bypass, was back playing.  Sheena, who only came to meet some friends for a drink during Covid times and who didn’t even like football, was now running around the pitch trying to win the ball.

So many inspiring women showing that football is for everyone and that there should be no barriers to being able to play.  Teams who were playing in their first Festival and players who were playing their first competitive games were enjoying the atmosphere and the safe environment that is created with this type of Festival.  Women from 25 – 66 were playing, enjoying each other’s company and chatting football.

Here are some more photos of the day, taken by James Boardman and Simon Dack of Telephoto Images, who captured the day perfectly.

The majority of all the photos available were taken by Telephoto Images.  There are 698 here if you want to see them all! Please credit them where possible.  Thank you.  https://www.telephotoimages.com/gallery/COGS-Euros-Festival-2022/G0000I7Hx77bnmJo/C00006oJtZJFcxx0

If you’ve ever wondered about giving football a go or are one of those women who would say “but I don’t know anything about football and I’m not fit enough” then Women’s Recreational Football is for you.  Go and join a Club near you where you will be able to learn to play or return to the game and you will be looked after by the welcoming people who run the Clubs. You can join in with Walking Football, Futsal, Soccercise or run around in small sided sessions/games.  If you can’t find a club then the local County FA will have people who can help you set up your own, complete with funding and advice.  Don’t delay!

There was also some great football on display, as well as all the fun!

The day ended with the raffle.  Thank you to everyone who donated prizes for the raffle.  The total amount raised on the day was £873.05 and along with a £50 donation (from one of our referee’s Dad’s) the money we raised totalled £923.05.  Alongside the raffle, we were kindly donated some signed England shirts for the auction for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.   The auction finished on the 15th July, with £400 raised against authenticated shirts signed by Lucy Bronze, Mel Lawley and Aoife Mannion.  So, the final total raised was £1323.05 with £861.53 going to the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation and the remaining £461.52 going to Women’s Aid.  A heartfelt thanks goes to everyone who donated, in any way, to raising that amount of money!

We also welcomed Ida Sports Co. who joined us for the day.  Ida Sports is a female-led footwear company that makes football boots specifically for female athletes. Ida are a start-up company that is passionate about making performance products that work for women and they listen to women at every stage of the design process. At #COGSEUROFEST22 they scanned lots of over 50s’ feet and are still looking for more women to take part in their ongoing research project named MISFIT (Maximising Inclusivity in Sports through Female Innovation and Technology).  The new research project aims to make sports shoes tailored for women over 50.  Check out their website for their current range of boots www.idasports.com.   The survey is here: survey.cmix.com/A2BEE53D/19FTK32D/en-US  Please complete it if you can.  It’s not that long and isn’t one of those annoying “strongly agree/disagree” type surveys!  They need your input. Deena Rahman from Ida sent this message, post #COGSEUROFEST22…

“Thank you to those who joined IDA sports at the COGs Fest and allowed them to scan your feet as part of the MISFIT project to produce a sports shoe for over 50s. They further need everyone’s help, please take the time to fill in the survey, and as a thank you for completing it, you will receive a 10% discount code off IDA products at the end of the survey. Your thoughts are crucial for the research project, thank you in advance.”


Finally, as the sun went down and with many teams staying overnight and heading to the Brighton & Hove Community Stadium the next day to watch the Lionesses vs. Norway, we finished the night off with a disco.  You really can’t beat a load of women, getting together and singing Sweet Caroline at the end of a wonderful day…


We can’t thank everyone enough who helped bring #COGSEUROFEST22 to life and the feedback has been amazing.  Thank you to everyone who came and played in the spirit of the day and remember……

It’s NEVER TOO LATE to start playing football

It’s NEVER TOO LATE to start a team

It’s NEVER TOO LATE to make new friends, and


Get in touch, if you want to learn or return, and we will point you in the right direction of those wonderful groups around the country!