My First COGS’ Sessions, post Lockdown 1 – November 2020.

My First COGS’ Sessions looks at some of the women who took the plunge, whether it be alone or egged on by friends, to join the COGS, post Lockdown 1.

Some were new to the game and some hadn’t played for years but the feeling was still the same…..   They wished they had done it sooner!  There are so many inspiring stories from the women who choose to start playing Women’s Recreational Football, (which includes Walking Football), whether it be in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s.  If you’ve ever thought about learning to play football, it’s fun, friendly and you meet some amazing women along the way (not to mention the great social nights).  Have a read and be inspired!

As we go into Lockdown 2, there will be many women who have struggles and many more who just want a way to be active, so when we’re out the other side, we’ll be ready to welcome everyone again.

Football, whether it be for fun or not, has shown that it is one of the most important activities in many peoples’ lives and being a COG is no different.  The excitement that we could all get back to playing again, in the Summer, was unreal and has continued to this day.  It has also brought more women to COGS, as we welcomed over 20 new attendees to our different sessions, since the last Lockdown!

We wondered why women who had never played football before, chose to come and join us, as well as those who returned after years out of the game, and what they thought after their first sessions.  I think it’s clear to see that being active is important, especially for “older” women but also the affects it can have on mental as well as physical health can’t be argued.  Increasing self-esteem and confidence is also key in empowering women.

We have a clear ethos at COGS, that it is an inclusive environment and that you will be welcomed into a non-judgemental space, regardless of your ability, size, shape or fitness level.

Here are some of our newbies’ testimonials of their first times playing football with us, for fun.  Even if you think “I can’t play football” or “I haven’t played for years, will I be good enough?” it really doesn’t matter because not many of us could before we started and we welcome all abilities!

One of our newbies wrote this heartfelt piece and it really brings home how important it is to support and empower women along the way.  We’re with you all the way….. 

“What is COGS? Some would say it’s a bunch of 40+ women attempting to play football whilst moaning about PMT, men, kids and life in general. How wrong those people are, COGS to me has been a godsend, a real life saver.  Whether it’s walking on a Monday, doing a double on a Wednesday, it’s something I have to do. As someone who struggles with mental health, when my best friend told me about COGS and how amazing it was I laughed in her face.  The thought of walking in somewhere with a big crowd was a definite no no. I had no choice, I was going with her and that was it.  She picked me up and off we went, the minute I walked in I was greeted with a smile, everyone went out of their way to say hello. Within minutes I’d been given a nickname, BFF no less ha ha.  A few months on and disruption from COVID I can’t wait to put on my boots and kick a ball. I’ve even managed to open up and tell people about my illness. Yeah I have wobbles, I have days where the thought of going out my front door frightens the life out of me, but with the support of those that know, I get there and I never look back. The point I’m trying to make is, don’t be scared to try something new, especially COGS. It’s more than just a bunch of old girls playing football, it really is a lifeline.”

ALISON W. – Had never played before and joined in September.

“I decided to have a go and attend my first COGS session having known a couple of friends who go and enjoy it. I’m always up for trying something different exercise wise and my son also plays for a local team, so I thought it was about time I gave it a go myself!

I really had no idea what to expect or if I would enjoy it but I’m so glad I have given it a go. I couldn’t have met a friendlier and more encouraging group of women and there is no judgement on what skills you have or don’t have. Harri is a great coach who makes it fun and varied for all.

I can now see why my son enjoys playing football so much now and for that one hour I forget about all the chaos going on in the world right now.”

A snapshot video, including Ali and Wendy, practising some turning at the Beginners’ session.

Wendy D – Joined after Lockdown 1.

“I used to play football in a school team many many years ago and was initially inspired to play by my Dad. Other than a kick around in the garden with my Dad and the kids, I haven’t played football as an adult and really wish I had because I love it and there really is no reason why I couldn’t have done!

My daughter joined a girl’s football team two years ago and my son shortly after. When one of the football Mums mentioned COGS, I had to look into it, then discovered one of my clients also goes. I still didn’t get the courage to join until after lockdown when I had become unfit and wanted to do something I really enjoyed. I’m not motivated to workout at home and wasn’t ready to go back to the gym so when Lisa said it starts again in a couple of weeks, I decided to just go for it. I did know two people which helped but there were so many others on their own and once you’re there everyone is so friendly and it’s so much fun.

We’re lucky that we have Medi 4 located at the Stadium, so they’re always on standby!

We all get to know each other’s names (if we remember them at our age) during the first half hour training, then play a match or two. Depending on how many of us there are we’ll split into two or four teams. It’s the best exercise and so much fun that it goes so quickly. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner! I look forward to it every week now and am getting fitter in the process.”

ANA F. – Joined our new Beginners/Intermediate session after Lockdown 1.

“For the last couple of years, I’m on a mission to be healthier, and being active is a very important part. I had started running one year before lockdown 1, but that was on the treadmill in the gym: I wasn’t confident enough to run outside. But the circumstances force me to and I realised I actually loved it and it really helped me during stressful times. I found out about COGs in the hairdressers after the first lockdown, I didn’t know something like this existed so I didn’t know it was an option before. As a kid, I loved playing football but didn’t get many opportunities to play, and as I grew up I continued to follow football but I stop playing. I thought it was something I wasn’t going to do again, so when I found out about COGs, I thought it was a second opportunity I couldn’t miss. Also, it would be an opportunity to meet new people and be active at the same time.

Before going to my first session, I was a bit worried (a bit = quite = quite a lot). I’m a very quiet person and going to a session with a group of people not knowing anyone was a bit daunting. I shouldn’t have worried: I arrived a bit early, as I had never been to the stadium so I wasn’t sure where I had to go, and the first person I saw just came to me, said “hi, you must be Ana”, and explained to me how everything worked. Then everyone else arrived and they were all really welcoming and nice and I felt part of the group from the beginning, it was really fun and I loved the experience. Since then I’ve only been to a couple of sessions but it’s already become one of the best moments of the week.”

DEB G.  –  Joined our Walking Football session on return from Lockdown 1.

“I remember seeing information about COGS when it started up and did think about joining but I had never played football before and thought I might be a bit old. Prior to lockdown I played walking basketball each week which was good exercise and very social. When lockdown happened it became apparent that basketball would not get going again until 2021 at the very earliest so as boredom set in I saw the advert for walking football and decided to give it a go.

As near as we got to a photo of Deb!

I turned up for my first session and everyone was so welcoming that I soon felt part of it, there were no clicky groups that you sometimes get. Nothing is taken seriously and there is plenty of laughing as things don’t quite go to plan, the group covers all age groups from young to older which is good as it is nice to have a mixture of ages, I feel like I’ve had a little workout at the end of a session and thoroughly enjoy it and will continue even when basketball restarts, I am even thinking of joining the beginners sessions for proper football!”

RUTH R. –  Joined our Beginners session a few weeks ago.

“I played football with my brother sometimes growing up, always enjoyed it and during the last Lockdown I was reminded of how much I liked it since myself, my husband and our 2 daughters would take a ball over to the park in the evening for our daily exercise and invariably, my husband and I got the most out of it, as we had forgotten how much fun it is. I have thought about joining a ladies team many times over the years but didn’t know of anything local so when my good friend Wendy told me about COGS I jumped at the chance! I was a little nervous but I went along to my first session and was immediately put at ease with the easy going atmosphere. Enjoyed the warm up and absolutely loved the game after. A great group of ladies and really good fun.”

SHEENA P. – Was dragged along during the last Lockdown while we could meet up with 6 people outdoors and hasn’t looked back!

“So my friend Mel Fell says to me, “ I’m going over Grattons Park tonight to have a kick about with some of the COGS do you fancy It “ I laughed and said absolutely not, the weather had been 100 degrees that day ( I might be exaggerating a wee bit there ) she goes we have a little drink after, I said yep what time?!!

It’s only been a few months and I haven’t looked back since. I look forward to Wednesday night sessions, great group of ladies. I have been made to feel so welcome and I’m loving it.  It’s a great way of keeping fit and I get a right buzz out of chasing the ball and sometimes even kicking it.  One thing I have learnt is, the ball never gets tired.  Try it you’ll love it.”

JODIE V. – Jodie joined, along with some friends, after Lockdown 1.

“In Autumn 2020, I joined the COGs beginner sessions along with 3 friends. I’d considered it before but wasn’t brave enough to go on my own. Having never really been into football or team sports I was unsure of what to expect. What I know about football I’ve learned from my 8 year old son! The coaches and ladies are so welcoming and friendly. I was surprised at the mix of beginners, at all levels of fitness, skill and ages. It really is a club for everyone.


I joined to socialise, learn something new and have fun whilst exercising. I wish I’d given it a go years ago! Each session starts with a warm up, followed by skills training and ends with mini matches. It’s light-hearted with a fun competitive edge. We laugh at ourselves and give each other loads of encouragement. I always come away feeling like I’ve had a good workout, a good laugh and with a sense of achievement. I can imagine continuing for many years to come.”

And, there you have it!  Plenty of good reasons to come along and join us!