More than 100 young girls from across Manchester enjoyed the latest instalment of a new programme run in conjunction with The FA.
SSE Wildcats has been designed to inspire girls aged between 5-11 to get involved in football, providing them with regular opportunities to play and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls.
SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Clubs will run through the summer on a weekly basis, with more than 100 girls taking part in the event at the Armitage Centre, in Fallowfield, last weekend.
Didsbury’s Beaver Road Primary School pupils Charlotte Owen and Catherine Saunders are among those to attend the sessions in Manchester, and the new programme is a big hit.
“I like SSE Wildcats because we don’t just play matches we also get to do skills before the matches and we learn how to do different moves and tackle each other and learn about passing,” said Catherine, seven.
“It’s good for girls to come and take part at SSE Wildcats because they get to learn how to play football. They often say boys are better at football than girls and that can discourage girls so they should come and have a go at Wildcats.”
Charlotte, eight, added: “I love SSE Wildcats because we get to see what our weaknesses and strengths were so in the future we can work on it.
“I think it’s important girls do SSE Wildcats because people think football is made for boys but it is made for both girls and boys.
“I like it because it is a good sport to do and I really enjoy it because all my friends are here it is much better.
“I would like girls to come to SSE Wildcats because if more people come then more girls play football and it will make people think that football is not just for boys but for girls as well.”
The SSE Wildcats initiative follows the launch of The FA’s Gameplan for Growth, which outlines the aim to double girls’ participation in the sport by 2020.
And with more than 200 programmes having already been established up and down the country, the initiative is quickly proving to be a success.
“SSE Wildcats is a brand new initiative launched by the FA with our partner SSE, it is around engaging new girls to get into football, experiencing football in a fun, positive and safe environment,” said Caroline Hulme, national project manager for women’s football at The FA.
“We are really trying to focus on the novice girls, girls who have never kicked a ball before to come along to these sessions on a weekly basis and try football with their friends.
“It has been absolutely fantastic here in Manchester, this club has over 100 girls that have signed up, all of various age groups. We have older girls as well here so the younger ones to look up to them as role models.
“The great thing about Wildcats is that it gets new girls involved so there’s no pressure it’s really flexible. The girls can turn up as and when they want to.”
SSE Wildcats is a new initiative designed to inspire girls aged 5-11 to play football in a fun and engagement environment on a weekly basis. Created exclusively for girls, there are over 200 clubs across the country. To find yours, head to www.thefa.com/forgirls