FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations

future tottenham player, FA Girls' Football Week

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening NOW!

Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations are happening at the same time as the UEFA Women’s European Finals this year. England’s Lionesses are one of the favourites to win the UEFA Women’s European finals too. We beat Scotland the other night 6-0, and tomorrow night face Spain.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen this year from the 16th July to the 6th August 2017. It is a national campaign to raise the profile of female football and double the number of girls playing by 2020.

Last year more than 130,000 girls took part in sessions. This was in schools, universities, colleges, clubs, community groups and other organisations country-wide.  Activities include playing, training or just learning more about football.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats, FA Girls' Football Week 

Organisations can register their regular activities on the site, or start something new. It’s loads of fun and longer than a week this year too. It is a great chance to showcase female football from grassroots to England at the Euro’s, and to help inspire new players and volunteers.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations happen once a year every year – we’ve written about it before (2015 and 2016). We’ve always been lucky that there are football events near us, though a couple of years ago the word hadn’t really spread. As time has progressed everyone knows about it. Add to this the launch of a new website, For Girls.

For Girls is the FA’s website which is for women’s football – there are profiles for all our England players, with plenty of facts and information. There are news articles and loads of things which are relevant to the women’s game.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if England won the Euro’s? It was so close in the World Cup two years ago. Watching two years ago I felt a different sense of pride towards the game. It really meant something when I’d fallen out of love with the England men’s game. It was like we were the underdogs of our own country. Nobody expected us to do as well as we did. But we were brilliant! We came away so proud of the Lionesses achievement finishing third.

So now Girls’ Football Week is celebrating the Euro’s with the Lionesses and loads of activities for girls all tied in.

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club, FA Girls' Football Week

We’ve been going to the SSE Wildcats at Crystal Palace weekly since our first session which H LOVES attending. I’m seeing a whole new side to her since we started, with far more confidence. She wants to be the goalkeeper or a defender and is bossing the rest of her team from the back and knows where her other players should be. Our Wildcats sessions are over (we can’t make the last two sessions) and are going to start again in September, going up to December – and I’m delighted. You can book here, sessions are based in Caterham and are £3 a time.

Girls' Football Week Euro Celebrations
Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations with Coach Charlotte. H got a Lionesses sports headband (which is perfect for her) and a new water bottle – as well as player pictures, a wallchart and an SSE Wildcats certificate.

Today we had a Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations session, with games featuring the England players and goodies for the girls afterwards – Lionesses ones too! Right now H feels like she’s a part of it, and that’s brilliant. It helps the support and even if she isn’t the best football player out there, she’s playing and having fun. That’s what it’s all about – taking part.

FA Girls’ Football Week Euro Celebrations has a website – head over here for more information to find out what is planned where you live. Our group did their Salute for England (which is not yet online) – have yours yet?

This is part of the FA Project we have been participating in. We have received a fee for our time. 

Women’s Football, A Bit of Opinion

scoring a goal in football
I’ve loved football for as long as I can remember. I was never taken to a game by my parents – I took them to theirs. The only reason for that was my younger sister being a ball girl. My teams are Tottenham and York City, my main and home team.

I have suitably brainwashed H, so they are also her teams – and it took minimal effort too. As time has progressed we’ve found ourselves watching a lot of women’s football.

Women’s football is so different these days. It’s much easier to play against other girls for a start. We’ve been attending the SSE FA Wildcats sessions at Crystal Palace, and have watched the FA Cup Final at Wembley three years in a row.

H at Wembley

Things are improving outside of our family too. Just today Lewes, a lower league team has announced they will pay the women’s team the same wages as they do the men’s. They have launched Equality FC and I think it’s brilliant!

When you look at the structure of the women’s football league, this diagram helps you see how much things are growing.

Tottenham won the Women’s Premier League Southern Division, whereas Blackburn won the Northern one. The two teams met in a play off with Tottenham gaining promotion to FA WSL Division Two.

Womens football pyramid

England women (aka the Lionesses) are in The Netherlands getting ready for the UEFA European Championships which start very soon. We joined in a Twitter chat on Monday with Casey Stoney who we interviewed a couple of years ago.

Magazines like She Kicks are growing too – a fantastic place to read about women’s football. I’ve bought H a year’s subscription as part of her birthday present. After all, she’s loving collecting the stickers in her Women’s UEFA European Championships album – why not back that up with a magazine too?

It all feels like we’re on the brink of something big happening. Exciting news came this week that Little Mix have launched a campaign with the FA to get everyone to Salute the Lionesses. Check out this video and share your salute too!

What a fab fun campaign. There are plans for H and her Wildcats friends to do a big salute for England this weekend coming which is awesome! I can’t help thinking how brilliant I would have found it if there had been an equivalent when I watched my first World Cup that England featured in (1982 – I just bought the records instead). While this isn’t H’s first tournament, it’s the first one she feels a part of.

The FA recently launched their new site, For Girls over here. I love it. It’s a great site for girls of H’s age to learn about women’s football players.

Girls Football Week is on the horizon too – stay tuned for more news about that very soon! We’ll be supporting it again for the third year in a row.

So yes, I can’t help thinking that right now it’s great being female and a follower and participant of the women’s game. Things really are growing and getting better and it’s a really exciting time!

UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals Panini Sticker Book

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book
Rejoice, rejoice! Panini have brought out a UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals sticker book! It’s out now, available in stores.

Panini have brought out the first ever UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals sticker book – and it’s available now! This is a REALLY big deal, as it has never happened before.

Back in the 80s I used to subscribe to Shoot! magazine – a football magazine famous for its League Ladders and facts about footballers across all clubs. My favourite week was always the one that featured the Tottenham team, obviously. But you had to wait…

My other favourite week was getting a free Football League Panini Stickers album – plus a few stickers to start you off. I’d spend my pocket money on Jukebox 7″ singles at our local supermarket alongside several packs of Panini stickers to complete my collection.

H is now at the age where she gets enough pocket money she knows to save it up to spend it on something she really wants. When I spotted that Panini have launched a UEFA Women’s Euro finals sticker book I had to buy it as a treat – start ’em young, right?

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book Norway team and badge

The sticker book covers all clubs from the forthcoming European finals, plus has a team badge and full team photo on each page. I found a book in Sainsbury’s. The book contains six stickers inside plus a couple of packs. I bought six more packs, you can never have too many.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book starter pack

The collection consists of a 40 page album with 334 stickers to collect. There are 22 special stickers to look out for too. The starter set costs £2.99 and consists of the book and 24 stickers to start you off. Each pack of stickers is 60p for five. Panini also offer you the option to order up any spaces online. That means no more having to save the backs of your old stickers before ordering.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book switzerland page

There are familiar names from the 2014 World Cup alongside players we’ll get to learn about. There are familiar names from the games we’ve seen, predominantly the England Lionesses of course, but also some Dutch players.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book England page

This leads us onto our next ‘can we do it?’ moment. We’re going to try and fly out to The Netherlands to catch a game if the flights are reasonable. We don’t even mind not seeing England, it’ll be something fun to do. The games are affordable, so it wouldn’t cost us a lot. We have a friend who lives in The Netherlands who we could stay with… very tempting!

We bought our Panini UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals book ourselves, let us know if you get any doubles!

that familiar Panini sight

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SSE Wildcats Girls’ Football with Crystal Palace FC

SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club

Football is for everyone. Over the course of this summer SSE and the FA have created training sessions in conjunction with several football clubs around the country. These are sessions exclusively for girls, SSE Wildcats clubs. As part of our FA Project with Britmums we signed up with the group at Crystal Palace.

Have fun, make friends, play football is their slogan and so far H is doing all three!

SSE Wildcats are hour-long sessions run by various football clubs around the country. We visited the Crystal Palace group about 20 minutes drive away. Sutton United also run classes nearby.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

We went along for one session, and have decided to continue – and it’s because they’re brilliant.

H is still convinced she wants to be a goalkeeper… in her second session she had that chance and felt proud to get praise from her coaches for some of the saves she did (and there were some good ones – I’m not biased!).

An SSE Wildcats session tends to start with some fun stuff, kicking the ball around and warming up.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

Games like ‘Stuck in the Mud’ and ‘Foxes and Farmers’ are played to get the girls running around and improving their spatial awareness.

The girls are paired up to work on skills. Tackling to get the ball from their opponent, things like that. The two female coaches are always checking and let them know if there are things that could change.

Warming up with SSE Wildcats

Finally the girls end up having five or six a side games which depend on how many girls turn up. H likes going in goal and bossing her team around, encouraging them to run up front so she can pass the ball to her. Do we have a future Karen Bardsley here?

That’s when the fun starts – and some swapping around if one team dominates too much. At the end both sides shake hands, and their coach gets a picture of them with the SSE Wildcats sign.

It’s great fun – and H loves it. She loves football anyway, and this is another reason to get her going again.

future england player

We used to train with Crystal Palace and Carshalton Athletic a few years ago and she was frequently the only girl. Often the boys wouldn’t pass the ball to her and she’d run around not too fed up but we could see. With it being all-girls you don’t get any of that.

Right now it’s about getting her confidence up again.

I have to add her lack of confidence isn’t due to previous classes, we need to get her skills back!

The SSE Wildcats sessions run throughout the summer and there’s a possibility they could continue. If this funding doesn’t continue then Crystal Palace are likely to keep it going. That’s brilliant news as there will still be opportunities for girls. They’re a friendly little group and H is making new friends.

future tottenham player

Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats currently have 29 girls registered. Their target is 30 and the space they have can accommodate more than that. My gut feeling is that after the UEFA European Championships even more girls will want to sign up and play. I’m hoping England do well and am considering trying to get to a game. After our last World Cup success coming third, wouldn’t it be amazing if our England Lionesses won?

To find out your local session head here. Our session costs £1 per week – prices vary, but are low. This may change once the initial SSE Wildcats period is over. All clubs run on a weekly basis and are on different nights of the week. Crystal Palace are on Saturday mornings.

We attended the Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats session with thanks to the FA and Britmums. We have received a fee for our time, this does not change our opinion of these sessions. Please note – all photos of the girls have had their faces removed to protect their privacy. 

Please see our other posts that are part of the FA Project – when we went to the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final for the third year running and when we watched an FA WSL Spring Series game.

Here are the other bloggers taking part – Chelle took Fizz to see Brighton play

North East Family Fun caught Sunderland

Baby Budgeting at Wembley

 

FA WSL Spring Series – Arsenal Ladies v Reading Women

The Hive Panorama
The FA WSL Spring Series is about to end, a group of games which bridged the gap between the end of the last WSL1 season and the start of the new one in September. We visited The Hive in North London to watch Arsenal Ladies play Reading Women – our first WSL game.

The FA WSL Spring Series is a set of games running from April to June 2017. It features all the teams from the WSL1 apart from Notts County who folded on the eve of the competition, bringing it down to just nine teams.

We really enjoy attending the Women’s games. It’s a different atmosphere to the men’s, and somewhere I’m happy taking H to. Even the players don’t have potty mouths!

please refrain

We arrived at The Hive in Barnet. The Jubilee Line runs alongside the ground, it’s probably a ten minute walk from there. As Tottenham supporters we’ve been to Arsenal games and seen how intense it is (I would never take H to one) – is the ladies game different?

Arsenal v Reading FA WSL Spring Series The Hive

It was – their supporters were noisy too. This was probably our first women’s game where we heard constant singing. Tottenham need to up their game now! It was good noisy though, lots of supportive ones and none about their opposition or their North London neighbours (although that’s questionable as both teams don’t play at the same place as the men).

With pitchside seats and an attendance was 870 it was a good turnout for this FA WSL Spring Series game. When you put your rival differences aside it was a great game of football. Arsenal always looked like they were going to score but never seemed to quite do it until just on the 40th minute.

It’s worth pointing out that often the women’s game doesn’t seem to carry the differences the men’s does. It’s people going to watch a great game of football and support their team. You don’t get derogatory terms and you don’t get swearing either. It’s the kind of setting I enjoy taking H to because we can watch football without me getting annoyed.

Jordan Nobbs FA WSL Spring Series

Two England players who have been named in our England Lionesses Euro squad this summer were on the pitch. Jordan Nobbs and Fara Williams both featured in the Arsenal side;  we’ve watched Fara play several times over the last couple of years on television and we’re looking forward to the Euro’s! After England did so well in the World Cup in 2015 I’m really hoping we can build on that and go even further, plus the games are on at a far more sociable hour.

The FA WSL launched in 2011 and has grown in size from season to season. Ten clubs now compete in both leagues, with Tottenham being the newest club to gain promotion to WSL2. The games used to run over the summer months, but will now start in September from 2017, running at the same time as the men’s game.

FA WSL Spring Series Arsenal v Reading 2

We love taking H to watch football – and she enjoys watching. I grew up watching York City every week in my teens and Tottenham once I moved to London. I want H to enjoy all aspects of football. It’s great that her favourite players range from Harry Kane to Fran Kirby.

She has watched games for a good couple of years now. I love that there are so many opportunities for girls thank to the FA’s For All purpose. The FA wants to make football available for everyone, and it is certainly getting easier season by season. They want to double girls’ participation in the sport by 2020 which is brilliant.

FA WSL Spring Series Arsenal v Reading

 

There are so many football opportunities available at the moment for girls like H. Check out the SSE Wildcats FC’s around the country that are girls-only football clubs. We’re going to be heading to Crystal Palace SSE Wildcats FC soon. H had lessons with Crystal Palace when she was five, so we’re looking forward to trying the girls-only session out.

To find a FA WSL Spring Series game near you, or for details on the new season which starts in September, visit www.fawsl.com.

This is part of the Britmums/FA Project we’re taking part in. We’re being paid a fee for our time, though this doesn’t change our opinion of the game. 

SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 – Manchester City v Birmingham City

Yesterday was the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017, the third time we’ve been and the third time it has been played at Wembley. If you want an afternoon of affordable football then a trip to the home of football is what you need.

Wembley FA Cup display

The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 happened yesterday, Manchester City Women v Birmingham City Ladies. We go every year, as I’ve found it’s a really affordable way to watch football at Wembley. Plus there is a great atmosphere!

This year the FA ran the Kids go Free promotion again, so we were able to buy tickets for the three of us for £20.00. One adult, one student and one child.

What a day it was! Last week we found out we will be working with the FA to help promote Women’s football and football for girls. If you’ve followed our footballing journey you may remember H was playing every Saturday at Carshalton Athletic (who let girls play for free). We stopped around the time we had our gas leak and we got out of the habit of going. Well, we’re starting again.. and there’ll be more on that in the future.

SSE Women's FA Cup Final 2017 tickets, FA Cup Final 2017

Back to Wembley and the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017. We received hospitality tickets for the Bobby Moore Suite. The posh part of Wembley – and we were right next to the Man City Women bench. We were also right next to the steps the players ascend to be presented with the FA Cup and medals.

Comfy Wembley seats

The seats were AMAZING. Funnily enough, the ones we had bought were on the next block along, a row behind! But those were plastic seats, not padded comfort ones.

Manchester City Women are on a roll at the moment. In the Women’s Super League you have a lot of teams who don’t seem to get the support from their Men’s team and you can tell. This isn’t the case for Man City Women, who dominated the game. I’m happy that Birmingham City Ladies also got a goal as they deserved it.

H loved seeing England players Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Toni Duggan and Isabel Christansen play. It was great seeing Carli Lloyd play too – she’s playing for Man City Women until the end of the current FA WSL Spring Series. She’s one serious US Women’s footballer and the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Manchester City Women and the FA Cup, FA Cup Final 2017

The atmosphere in the ground made the game for me. We had mexican waves (of course) and noise. Teams weren’t too segregated, so you could watch as a neutral or for one of the teams and enjoy yourself. It’s a brilliant place to play and when the game ended you could see how much winning the FA Cup meant to Man City Women – it was their first time. They really deserved it.

For me, seeing the game gain in popularity can only be a good thing. Women’s football has always felt like it’s at the level of lower league football which is fine – but now things seem to be moving in a very positive way. In an interview I read recently Casey Stoney said, the opportunities are now there – you might not get to play for England but you get to play. Players like Casey and the teams we watched yesterday are making this happen for future generations of girls.

I find myself mellowing towards teams that I would never in a billion years follow the men’s version of. That has to be a positive thing!

It’s a really exciting time to follow Women’s football. We’ll be watching Tottenham against Blackburn Rovers in a couple of weeks. Tottenham recently completed the treble in their league, though are still an amateur side. We’re keeping everything crossed that they gain promotion to the Women’s Super League and become a dominant football team. So much of that is down to the support of the main club.

H at Wembley, FA Cup Final 2017

With a record attendance yesterday of 35,271 and them opening the upper levels of Wembley, Women’s football is so affordable, accessible and brilliant. Trust me when I say this, buy a ticket for the 2018 final when they go on sale around September-October time. You will not regret it.

Women’s football has been around for years. There’s a lot of information over at The FA’s site. Birmingham Ladies were formed in 1969.

We bought tickets and also received tickets for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final 2017 from BritMums as part of the FA Project. This does not affect our opinion in any way. We will receive a fee for our work. Thank you to Britmums and the FA for yesterday, we had a wonderful day. 

The SSE Women's FA Cup Final 2017, FA Cup Final 2017

Our previous trips to Wembley for the Women’s FA Cup Final in 2015 and 2016.

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham

A week ago H and I headed to North London as I had bought tickets for us to do a Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham.

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham various sights

The Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham was a new one for us – and was a bargain at £10 each. I’ve been desperate to take H to White Hart Lane for a while now especially with all the changes.

Before she was born, Shaun and I would go almost every home game we could. My gentle brainwashing has ensured H is also a Tottenham supporter. This was a big deal for H as it could be the only time she got to see the ground. We can’t afford to go to games and they don’t have friendlies on over the summer any more thanks to the stadium works.

It’s about now I should point out I loved the 1983 film ‘Those Glory Glory Days‘ (affiliate link). It shows a love of Tottenham from a group of girls who sneak into White Hart Lane. They stay overnight to get tickets for the FA Cup Final while wandering around the ground. H has watched the film with me and also enjoyed it. We were travelling to York that evening so any ideas of hiding in the ground and staying overnight weren’t going to happen, mind.

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham old ground

So what did the Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham involve?

We met in the club shop. The group before us had Chirpy, the Tottenham mascot leading them around, so we missed out. We went into the main building – and straight to the press room. H and I got our photo taken (I was sat in Poccettino’s chair) and I was too busy grinning to try and look like I was giving a serious press interview.

After that we had some views of the new stadium from the press area – you can see how it’s growing. It’s going to be enormous.. maybe we will get to a game when we’re back there.

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham home dressing room

We headed down to the dressing rooms. The player shirts were there and of course everyone went for Harry Kane. H went to Aldeweireld’s instead, so we got a few good pictures as the Kane-Alli-Lloris section got quieter!

I was surprised at the size of the area – it’s quite small. I thought changing rooms would be much bigger, but then I guess all you do is get changed, don’t you?

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham cool stuff

A quick walk up the tunnel and to the pitch side and I was happy. We got to sit in the seats the management take during a game (they’re heated too), and gaze out at the ground.

H was quite keen to take it all in. This is her team and she had finally made it to the ground. I pointed out where we used to sit behind the goal on the South Side – you can see Shaun and I in the background of most pictures when Paul Robinson scored a goal. It was great.

Then it was time to visit the big man. The whole point of doing the Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham. He was just up the tunnel and in his own little blue and white room. Father Christmas was blue and white too. You know what? He was flipping brilliant too. He asked H questions, got her talking about stuff and heck, even I told him what I’d like for Christmas… (Tottenham to do okay this season)

Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham meeting Santa

We must have spent a few minutes in there, he was fantastic. H got two presents as well – a Tottenham annual (which is good as we’d thought about getting one in the club shop but hadn’t) and a little teddy which she has cuddled every night.

After the Father Christmas Stadium tour at Tottenham we headed back out, past the Hall of Fame and to the main office. I grabbed one last photo with H before we headed back south of the river, but with happy memories in place. I’m happy as she has finally seen White Hart Lane before it’s demolished.

H is happy as, in her words, she said “Mummy, I don’t know if you saw, but I touched Harry Kane’s shirt. I’m NEVER washing my hand EVER AGAIN!!!” – and I felt a moment of proper pride, this is the start of hero worship. Ew.

The Father Christmas Stadium Tour at Tottenham cost just £10 each. We had a 45 minute mini tour, our guides were brilliant and gave us loads of facts and information. I’m pleased we did it. I just wish White Hart Lane would exist next Christmas as I fear H might be too old for it the year after!

Women’s FA Cup Final 2016 – Arsenal v Chelsea

If you had told me eight or nine years ago that I’d be happily going to Wembley to watch Arsenal play Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, I’d have laughed at you. What on EARTH would I want to go and see either of those teams for? In fact, I’d still say it now if it was the men’s team, as we’re a Tottenham supporting family and their supporters aren’t the most friendly to ours, and vice versa. (apart from the ones we’re friends with, of course)

Wembley Stadium Instagram Selfie

However, when looking at the Women’s game, it’s different. For one thing, with the smaller crowds, everyone is far more pleasant – and it’s also much easier to meet the players at games (many a Tottenham game we’d hang around hoping to get some autographs…). Knowing this from having gone last year, we bought tickets again this year and last weekend headed to Wembley!

Wembley Stadium SSE giant sponge hands

With no preference for either team to win, it was nice going as a neutral and such a great atmosphere for H to experience again. Things were almost identical to last season, we were lucky to get the only goal of the game at our side of the field, H was happy as she got to see Casey Stoney and Fran Kirby play, and as well as that SSE who sponsor Wembley Arena next door, were handing out free giant sponge hands and rattles! It was a great party-like atmosphere, we were sat amongst fans from both teams and it was far more pleasant than when we’ve been to some Tottenham games vs either of these teams on the men’s side.

There was no swearing, no shouting, just cheering, clapping and a good happy atmosphere.

Wembley Stadium Women's FA Cup Final 2016 seats
I realise this may not be the best picture to accompany this part, it was taken at the start before the game had started, okay? 🙂

Oh, and the whole thing cost us £20 with something like £2.50 for shipping because I have an NUS card, and adults were £15 – with all children going free. How good a deal is that? I only wish I’d known about it sooner as I’d have spread the word – weirdly I didn’t get my usual email from the FA Ticketing people to say they were on sale.

We had a brilliant afternoon, and H was happy as she saw several of her favourite players.

If you ever wanted to take your child to a football match but were worried about aggressive behaviour or swearing, the women’s game seems to have much less of that going on – and it’s just as fun.

Wembley Stadium players warm up

(actually, as a sidenote, I remember taking H to see Carshalton Athletic play, where there was a note for the crowds to remind everyone it’s a family club and to mind their language, while the players cursed loudly enough for us to find it quite comical…. ho hum)

We’re taking H to see England play at the end of the month at Wembley – all our first chance to see Harry Kane play (hopefully!) – something we’re looking forward to. It’ll be H’s first men’s game and I know the atmosphere will be different, even being in the family stand.

 

It’s Girls’ Football Week Next Week!

Girls’ Football Week is back – starting next week, Monday 25th April to Sunday 1st May.

Girls Football Week, H in goal, girls' football week

Girls’ Football Week comes from the FA, and is set up to encourage girls to get involved with the beautiful game. There was a similar event last year which we covered here.

We’ve had a quiet start to the year, our Saturdays no longer at Carshalton – not because we’re stopping but because H has been exhausted with school. But soon we’ll be back for her Saturday morning kickabouts – and even though we haven’t been for a while, we’re still watching games on tv. It’s an exciting time to be a football supporter at the moment – from us as Tottenham supporters (what on EARTH is going on? Fantastic season), to York supporters (hanging on by a thread to the Football League) – and of course all the Women’s games that are on at the moment – which can be watched on BT Sport so are accessible to loads of people.

Add to that the Women’s FA Cup final (Arsenal v Chelsea) is happening next month at Wembley, where children under 18 can go for free, and it’s a fantastic time to be involved – I love that women’s games are super-affordable and we can take H along, and she enjoys it.

Now we have Girls’ Football Week, which starts next week. It aims to increase the participation of girls within the game – and you can sign up here.  There was a week of events last October, which didn’t filter down to Carshalton Athletic, so I’ll be sending them the link to make sure they get involved. I’ll be making sure WE get involved again!

There’s a great ticket initiative, on a strict first come first served basis, if your school or club signs up, then you can apply for some free tickets for women’s games – for more information head here.

Football Mum of the Year, girls' football week

I love that we can watch the women’s game and not have the same feelings towards the teams as we do with the men’s. Her favourite player is still Fran Kirby, and she has her England shirt with Casey Stoney’s name on the back – still going strong.

I’ve always loved football, and my love of the game has been passed on to H. She’s a lucky girl getting to see the England Men’s team next month (and we’re hoping Harry Kane gets to play, then we can all watch him at a game rather than on tv!) – exciting!

If you have a love of football, help spread the word! Girls’ Football Week starts next week, so you don’t have long!

The FA Launches Girls Football Week

Today the FA has launched Girls Football Week – running until the 11th October 2015.

saturday football, Girls Football Week

Girls Football Week is an initiative to encourage schools to create more female football training sessions.

It is being delivered in partnership with Independent Schools FA, English Schools FA, Association of Colleges Sport and British Universities and Colleges Sport.

This year the programme has been extended to Primary and Secondary schools, colleges and universities as well as clubs and community groups.

Last year more than 2000 people took part in Girls Football Week over 80 groups – and this year the FA are hoping Girls Football Week will encourage over 5000 girls to take part.

Football Mum of the Year, Girls Football Week

The FA has some free resources to help schools set up sessions, and more information can be found here.

You can find more information here for each relevant group about Girls Football Week.

Primary schools: www.TheFA.com/Skills
Secondary schools: www.TheFA.com/Schools
Colleges: www.ecfa.org.uk/development/womens-football.aspx
Universities: www.bucs.org.uk/womensfootballoffer

H plays football every weekend at Carshalton Athletic, who are now talking about setting up an Under 8’s team, which H hopes to be involved in. I’ve offered my social media services with the Women’s team, in the hope it will help spread the word (as I have no idea when they’re playing and would love to help). H loves football now – she enjoys playing and has decided she wants to be a goalkeeper these days – and seems to be getting better at saving goals too.

Girls Football Week, H in goal

None of this could be possible, were it not for the way girls are accepted in football training sessions. At Carshalton Athletic girls go free which I think is a wonderful scheme and one which keeps us going back. I really hope that H gets to represent her local team as I know she’d be so proud. She’s getting opportunities I never had, and I love that she loves the game as much as I do.

Do you have a girl who plays football? Don’t forget the FA’s ‘We Can Play’ campaign, tag your photos with the hashtag – and help spread the word! After the wonderful Women’s World Cup this year, there’s a real momentum (we won’t talk about the last England Euro qualifier which didn’t make it onto tv, mind) – and I hope it continues. H’s favourite players are still Casey Stoney and Fran Kirby, and you know what? She loves Harry Kane just as much. It’s all good.