SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centres from The FA will provide girls aged 5-11 with regular opportunities to play football.
The initiative offers organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls. More than 200 clubs have been established throughout England in 2017 and a further 800 are set to launch in 2018.
SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football sessions take place on a weekly basis, either after school or at weekends, and provide a safe environment where girls can try football for the first time. SSE and The FA hope the initiative will inspire participants to engage with football, meet new friends, develop fundamental skills, learn new things and create the foundation for a lifelong love of football.
Sessions at AFC Stoneham in Eastleigh include:
Opportunity to meet new friends
Core exercise for youngsters
Each SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centre will be run in conjunction with local County FAs and utilise qualified coaches and local facilities. As well as activities for girls, there will also be opportunities for attending parents, carers and siblings to engage with the sport at the same time through ‘Family Sessions’ including Soccercise and Walking football.
The initiative is in line with The FA’s Gameplan for Growth, with the target of doubling girls’ participation in the sport by 2020. The strategy for women’s and girls’ football at grassroots level includes initiatives alongside SSE Wildcats, such as FA Girls’ Football Week starting on Monday April 23rd at 6pm based at AFC Stoneham, HP Arena, Chestnut Avenue, Eastleigh SO50 9PF.
Steph Houghton, Manchester City and England Ladies captain, said ‘I started playing football at a similar age to a lot of the girls taking part in these sessions at AFC Stoneham and that’s when my love of football began. It’s so important to encourage them to enjoy the game from a young age and SSE Wildcats provide a great resource for that.’
Kelly Simmons, FA Participation and Development Director, said: ‘Since the launch of SSE Wildcats we have seen great enthusiasm from the girls taking part to continue learning and playing football. The 200 existing clubs have proved a huge success and we are pleased to be able to considerably grow the size of the initiative in 2018, offering a much higher percentage of girls across the country the opportunity to enjoy football in a safe and inspiring environment.’
The first SSE FA Wildcats Centre will be at AFC Stoneham in Chestnut Avenue, Eastleigh on Monday April 23rd starting at 6 pm. This will be a free taster session before the Centre officially opens on Monday April 30th also at 6pm.