The Football Association have a target of doubling girls’ participation in football by 2020, focusing on girls aged 5-11. That’s an initiative that scored a goal with a group of BritMums bloggers!
As part of the FA’s plan to promote girls-only football initiatives this year, more than 200 SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football Club sessions for girls have been established across England throughout the spring and summer. BritMums worked with the FA in a paid relationship along with bloggers to promote the SSE Wildcats sessions for girls.
We sent a group of bloggers with their girls to the sessions, to check out just how they work and how they get girls excited about football in a fun, engaging way. The BritMums bloggers consulted the SSE Wildcats website to find sessions near them.
6 things parents loved about the SSE Wildcats sessions
1. They are welcoming to all
When Becky from Baby Budgeting and her daughter, who typically plays before school in the playground, set out it was pouring with rain, but that didn’t dampen the fun. “Lise had such a nice time and was welcomed with open arms. There was lots of laughter, lots of training and a match! The coaches made it so much fun and taught lots of skills too.”
Watch the video Lise made, which shows some of the activities they did.
Becky and Lise’s experience embodies the SSE Wildcats motto: “The SSE Wildcats slogan is ‘Have Fun, Make Friends, Play Football’ and that’s exactly what the sessions are about.”
2. The sessions cater to a range of abilities
From beginners to improvers and up, the girls get to work at their own level while still being challenged. “Heidi was in the beginners group with 4 other girls,” explains Sam from Northeast Family Fun. “Every group had their own coach and this was a chance for the girls to work on specific skills through smaller games and activities. How fantastic that Heidi was able to have this practically one-on-one time with a professional coach!”
3. They’re affordable
“Prices vary but are low,” says Jo from Mum-Friendly. She paid £1 for a session at Crystal Palace. Sam from Northeast Family Fun paid £3 for her daughter’s 2-hour session in Killingworth. For that, kids got a fun-packed session focussing on skills, drills and high spirits. Costs may change once the initial SSE Wildcats period is over, but the fun stays the same!
4. They are just competitive enough
Sam from Northeast Family Fun liked that her newbie daughter could easily get stuck in and learn skills, with a frisson of competitive fun. She writes:
The sessions started with a jog around the pitch and then a few fun group games including football golf and a game that was kind of like British Bull Dog only the girls had to try and dribble a football from one side of the pitch to the other whilst avoiding the defenders on the other team who would try and kick the ball away from them. If they were caught out, they had to join that team until it was last (wo)man standing. These games weren’t competitive and the main aim was most definitely fun and to encourage confidence in dribbling a football.
5. The activity builds their confidence
Mum-friendly.co.uk loved that the sessions help build confidence for her daughter, who’s played with a boys team but relishes the opportunity for an all-girl environment.
That moment when their daughter made a goal or did a save while playing goalie created moments of real elation!
6. They create a football long tail
Chelle McCann’s daughter Fizz went to Horsham to take part, and after a fun day out, was presented with a mini branded football to practice at home. “Fizz is so proud of hers and has made a little time to practice every day, taking it to the park yesterday to encourage her school friends to have a kick around.”
Full-on football fun
Together, these bloggers’ experiences demonstrate how football aimed at girls reaps great rewards and can create an enduring love for the game. As parents, we see our girls happy, active and having fun.