FA's aim is to raise participation at higher and further education establishments
In support of the FA’s Girls’ Football Week, Wigan Athletic stars Jordan Flores and Nathan Byrne visited Rose Bridge Academy on Tuesday 11th October to deliver a football session to 25 girls. The Community Trust delivers 12 sessions of girls’ football a week, which is supported by the Premier League.
The pair took part in various football drills, which included head tennis, kicks ups and a penalty shootout, and showed off their skills before signing autographs for the delighted young Latics fans.
The Girls’ Football Week aims to raise participation at higher and further education establishments, with clubs, community groups, wider educational establishments and other organisations invited to run female-specific sessions during the week.
The week is being delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport, British Universities and Colleges Sport, the Premier League and EFL. Football is the largest female team sport in England with more than 2.89m players. There are more than 5,900 women’s and girls’ teams playing affiliated club football.
Jo Reilly, P.E teacher at Rose Bridge Academy, said: “The girls absolutely loved the session, especially when the Wigan Athletic players arrived to show them all their skills and tricks. We all look forward to the FA’s Girls Football Week every year.”
She continued: “Over the course of the past 12 months, the girls have had loads of opportunities and experiences through Wigan Athletic’s Community Trust, which has seen them play across the North West and at Wembley Stadium, so we really value the club and the work they do with us.”
The Community Trust has partnerships with Wigan Athletic Ladies Football Club, Leigh Genesis Football Club and Leigh Folds Football Club, and work to transition girls from local schools and the Wigan Youth Zone into these clubs to start playing regular competitive football.
Last year, the Community Trust engaged 256 females on to the Premier League’s girls’ project, and have ran 27 competitions for girls, which have provided 18 qualifications for its volunteers, including an FA Level 1 and Level 2 volunteer, who started as a participant on the project after completing 50 hours of volunteering.
Nathan Byrne, Latics’ summer signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers, said: “It’s great to see so many girls getting into football and working on their skills. There were some really technical players, with some of them doing over 10 kick ups, which was really impressive. I don’t think I could have done as many as that when I was their age!”