More than a game

Williamson: That's how you make real change

8 May 2024
Premier League Kit Scheme, Portfields Primary School, Leah Williamson

Arsenal defender visits her old primary school to inspire a new generation of female footballers with brand new Premier League kit

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Hanging up at Portfields Primary School in Newport Pagnell is a signed England Under-19 shirt donated by former pupil Leah Williamson.

On it, the Arsenal defender and Lionesses captain has written the phrase, 'Dream Big'; a message which has been a guiding principle in her career.

And Williamson continued her work to inspire the next generation when she returned to Portfields Primary to surprise the school's girls' football team with brand new kit as part of the Premier League Girls' Kit Scheme.

"It's incredible that the Premier League kit scheme is giving out 58,000 kits," Williamson said. "One of the main things that puts girls off playing football is that they don't like their kit or they don't feel comfortable in it.

"To have a fresh kit and giving it to them in this manner, that's how you make real change. They don't have to be the next Lauren Hemp, they just have to find a space that they enjoy being in and that encourages them to become independent, confident young women."

Portfields Primary is one of more than 4,000 schools across England and Wales that have successfully applied for football kits for their girls' team.

Premier League Kit Scheme, Portfields Primary School

And Lauren Keep-Worral, Sports Coach & Girls' Football Team Lead believes the new kit will have a big impact on her team.

"I remember when I was six or seven, I had to play for a boys team, I couldn't find boots that fitted me and I had to share my brother's socks," she says. "Having your own kit just makes you feel like your own player.

"For the girls, seeing Leah, how she came from here and where she is now, they will think that anything is possible if you put your mind to it."

As part of her visit, Williamson attended a Premier League Primary Stars assembly before sitting down with the girls team to talk about her experiences and to explain how attitudes to women's football have changed over the years.

Her mum Amanda was on hand to tell the story of how as a youngster, she used to cut her hair to look like a boy in order to play football.

Premier League Kit Scheme, Portfields Primary School, Leah Williamson

"Women's football was banned for a long time and that story is only just being told," Williamson told the children. "It's really important that we all understand that although the world looks the way it does now, a lot of people have had to fight to make it that way.

"You're very fortunate that you live in a generation that is very open; you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do, so don't waste that."

Premier League Kit Scheme

The Premier League Kit Scheme, which is part of the More than a game campaign, gives primary school teachers the opportunity to apply for free Nike football kit for their girls' teams.

It has been included in the rollout of Active Allies, resources developed as part of Premier League Primary Stars, which aims to help instil positive behaviours in children by growing self-belief in girls and inspiring allyship in boys - so football can be truly everyone's game.

Video messages from England players Chloe Kelly and Mason Mount are available for assemblies in primary schools; along with interactive resources for teachers designed by experts to encourage discussion and inspire action across all participating primary schools.

Primary schools in England and Wales can access the Active Allies educational resources by signing up to Premier League Primary Stars.

What is Premier League Primary Stars?

Premier League Primary Stars is the Premier League's primary school education programme, using the appeal of football to support children to be active and develop essential life skills. It is available to every primary school in England and Wales, with over 19,000 schools engaged with the programme. More than 1.3million school sessions and events have already been delivered.

Funded by the Premier League, through the Premier League Charitable Fund, the programme has enabled over 68,000 teachers to use resources for English, PSHE, PE and Maths, to help children to be active and develop essential life skills. There are 650+ free resources available.

Currently 104 professional football club charities from the National League to the Premier League run in-classroom Premier League Primary Stars sessions in local schools, with over 18m attendances by primary school pupils.

To find out more about delivering the programme in your school, please visit

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