Brentford Football Club Community Sports Trust is encouraging girls across West London to start playing football. The initiative, coined the SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Centres, will provide girls the area with regular opportunities to play football. The initiative offers organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls aged 5-11. More than 200 clubs were piloted across England in 2017 and the scheme is now being extended to more than 900 centres with 26,000 participants across the country.
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. The Trust – along with SSE and The FA – hope the initiative will inspire girls to engage with football, meet new friends, develop fundamental skills, learn new things and create the foundation for a lifelong love of football.
Sessions in west London include:
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 and our Premier League Kicks programme.
Sharan Khroad, who works as a female coach at the Trust and was runner-up for ‘Young Leader of the Year’ at the London Youth Awards last week, said: “I started playing football at a similar age to a lot of the girls taking part in these sessions 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 centres 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.”