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This morning London Football Association revealed its innovative girls initiative, London Leopards, to train 100 new female football coaches to deliver its sessions.
The scheme has been backed with significant investment from Wembley National Stadium Trust (WNST).
MyLocalPitch were invited along to hear from an expert panel which included London FA CEO, Lisa Pearce; Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Footballer, Sarah Wiltshire; Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Manager, Karen Hills; and Non-Exec Director for London FA and Women in Sport CEO, Ruth Holdaway.
In conjunction with the national FA’s women’s and girls’ football strategy to double participation by 2020, the London FA are implementing a four-year project backed by £200,000 funding as part of its partnership with WNST.
Once 100 new female coaches have been recruited and trained, they will be running fun introductory football sessions to 1,000 girls aged between 7 – 11 years old.
A key focus will be to introduce young girls to football in a fun and relaxed environment, with social and health factors being a main driver.
Coaches will play an integral role in removing some of the archaic stigmas about girls football which have led to just 42% of girls playing football at primary school. In contrast, boys playing football at the same age stands at 96%.
Reports have revealed that the major drop off in girls football comes at 7 or 8 years old where social pressures tend to have a greater impact than on the younger carefree ages.
Currently only 17% of coaches in women’s sport are female and the greater this figure is, the more it will help shape cultural attitudes for the better.
A catalyst for this shift in behaviour will also come from more female role models in sport. These role models will pave the way for the next generations coming through, giving confidence to young girls to pursue this as a viable path.
For additional information about the London Leopards project please check out Londonfa.com. There are also details about the best way to apply after the application process for coaches opened today.
BY - Will Chrimes
12 February 2018