Women’s football: Tonbridge Wildcats seek female footballers of the future

Pam Mills

AN EXCITING new football venture for girls is starting at Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge.

The Tonbridge and West Kent School Sport Partnership has joined forces with the Football Association to launch the Wildcats FA Football Centre for girls aged eight to 11.

The not-for-profit organisation works with around 80 schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells helping with the provision of PE, sport and health.

According to the Partnership’s Alex Weston, the course is aiming to ‘increase girls’ participation in football and remove the stigma of it being a sport for boys only’.

Research by the FA shows that only 41 per cent of girls aged 10 play football, compared to 95 per cent of boys of the same age.

Alex works with around 80 schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, helping with PE, sport and health.

Training sessions will be held on the 4G pitch at Hayesbrook on Brook Street on Monday evenings from 5-6pm, starting on April 16. The first session is free to allcomers.

The FA teamed up with energy provider SSE, which sponsors the FA Women’s FA Cup, to launch the Wildcats project last year and there are now over 200 participating clubs across England.

Alex says: “This new initiative is already providing girls with regular opportunities to play football and take part in organised sessions in a fun and engaging environment created exclusively for girls.

“The sessions take place on a weekly basis after school in a safe environment where girls with a little or a lot of football experience can have fun engaging with sport, develop fundamental skills, try a variety of sessions, learn new things and create foundations for a lifelong love of sport.”

As Programme Director for the Wildcats in Tonbridge, she believes all young girls should have access to opportunities to ‘inspire and engage them in something positive and physically active’.

She adds: “In an effort to make the Wildcats centre as inspiring and sustainable as possible, we will teaming up with Tonbridge Angels FC to provide a pathway for girls to join a local community club and hopefully be lifelong participants in team sport.”

For more information, contact Alex Weston by emailing tonbridge.wildcats@gmail.com or calling 07903 550442.

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