First Sussex Women’s Social Football Festival – 28th July 2017.

Friday 28th July, saw the first ever Sussex Women’s Social Football Festival, for women predominantly new to the game and a few ladies who had played previously but no longer play.

Organised by the Sussex County Women & Girls Football League (SCWGFL), in conjunction with the Sussex County FA, the evening was arranged due to the recent popularity of “older” women & Mums wanting to play football for fun and enjoyment.   Previous discussions had been held between the SCWGFL, Crawley Old Girls (COGs), Lewes Ladies’ Vets and Bexhill Ladies as to how the local League could progress this new “concept” of Women’s Social Football.

It was decided, that a Football Festival would be a great idea, where everyone would just play for enjoyment and receive a medal for participating.  With plenty of Crawley Old Girls wanting to play (amounting to 3 teams), along with a team each for Lewes Ladies Vets, Bexhill and a team of ladies called MissKix, the Festival was shaping up nicely.  We also spoke to our friends at Merstham FC, where Abi Ellis has recently set up a group, such as ours, and 3 ladies were keen to play.   To make up a team for Merstham, 4 COGs agreed to partner up with Abi, Joanne and Karen for the evening.   The COGs were also introduced to 2 ladies from Worthing, Kirsty and Zoe, who themselves had just started up a group and wanted to come down and watch.  However, that was not going to happen with the COGs around and both Kirsty and Zoe joined the COGs White team for the evening!

You see, Women’s Social Football is all about participation and it doesn’t matter who you play for, it’s the fact you’re playing that’s the most important thing!

The COGs joined the Merstham Ladies to make a team!

SCFA HQ at Lancing was the venue for the 6 a-side games on the 3G pitch and the wind and pouring rain on the drive down was not going to stop any women playing!

On arrival, a welcome pack was issued to each team, which contained a Lioness headband, pen and programme for each player.

A total of 7 teams, with over 50 women playing, enjoyed the 10 minute games in a friendly environment with music, food and drink available.  Who could ask for more?!

COGs White, COGs Black, COGs Red & COGS + Merstham.

It is now hoped that this type of Festival will become a regular event, after excellent feedback from everyone.   It was also noted from the feedback forms that the biggest age category was 46-50 year olds, closely followed by 36-40 year olds and only 14 women who had played before.  The rest were new or fairly new to playing.  That’s an amazing statistic which shows what a demand there is for this type of football. There were also ladies who were in the 50+ category.

With the Surrey Mums’ Recreational Tournaments this year, which have been successfully delivered by Surrey County FA/CPFC Life Foundation and the Women’s Social Football Festival delivered on Friday by Sussex County FA, I think it’s fair to say that “Old Girls” and Mums have never had it so good!  Long may it continue!