Communities

Stoke shining a new light on girls' football programme

02/12/2015
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Innovative UV Football project helping to attract more girls to take up the sport

Stoke City have been using an innovative way of playing football to entice more girls to take up the game.

Last month, Stoke City Community Trust held a UV Football event at Staffordshire University where players play under ultra-violet light and with special neon bibs and face paint to help see each other as well as the ball.

England women's international Jo Potter joined girls from Wolstanton High School, Clayton Hall Academy, Chesterton Community Sports College and Madeley High School as well as holding a question-and-answer session with them.

"UV Football is great fun and has created a wow factor amongst the girls involved in our project," Stoke City's Premier League Girls Coordinator Andrew Frost said. "Girls have embraced the opportunity to do something a bit different and we are looking to embed UV Football in our offer in the future."

Stoke's girls football programme is run in conjunction with the Staffordshire FA to provide more opportunities for young women to play football and develop a regular sporting habit for life. To date, the scheme has engaged 559 girls in the last 15 months, with 233 of those engaged since September.

The Premier League Girls' programme began in 2013 and is now delivered by 34 Premier League and Football League clubs. Here are a selection of recent girls' football activities taking place acorss the country.

In Wigan, Latics first-team players Haris Vuckic and Chris McCann gave their support to Wigan Athletic Community Trust's girls' football programme when they joined a circuit training session at Abraham Guest Academy.

"Speaking to the girls playing here, a lot of them it's their first time joining in with something like this, even kicking a ball, so it’s great to see the Community Trust promoting these sessions and getting more girls involved with the sport," said McCann.

Leicester City Community Trust hosted the first Premier League Girls festival of the season at the end of October, an event which launched the programme in the city. More than 60 girls from six secondary schools took part in the tournament to showcase LCT's programme, which has already engaged over 100 girls since September.

Middlesbrough FC Foundation are celebrating after claiming victory at a North of England girls’ football tournament hosted by Sheffield Wednesday.

"It's a brilliant achievement, especially for a group that have only been training together since August," said Rachel Horsley, MFC Foundation’s Women and Girls lead.

More than 120 players from sides such as Newcastle United and Hull City took part in the event, with all participants afterwards going to Hillsborough Stadium to watch Wednesday take on Nottingham Forest.

Premier League Girls Football

  • 18,237 girls engaged since PL Girls Football programme began in September 2013
  • 12,239 girls engaged in the 12 months between 1 Aug 2014 and 31 July 2015; an increase of 34% (3,136) on the previous year
  • 727 satellite participants have made progression into a centre of excellence or other regular football
  • Delivered by 34 Premier League and Football League clubs, the project is funded by The FA via their Whole Sports Plan funded awarded by Sport England.

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