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. 

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

SSE Women's FA Cup Final 2016 – Arsenal v Chelsea

We went to the SSE 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 Women’s FA Cup Final 2016, 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. Knowing this from having gone last year, I bought tickets and we popped to Wembley.
Wembley Stadium SSE giant sponge hands
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.
SSE (who sponsor the Women’s FA Cup) were handing out free giant sponge hands and rattles. 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, Women's FA Cup Final 2016
Oh, and the whole thing cost us £20. Adults were £15, students £5 with all children going free. How good a deal is that?
We had a brilliant afternoon, and H was happy as she saw several of her favourite players.
If you ever want to take your child to a football match and are worried about aggressive behaviour or swearing, the women’s game has much less of that going on – and is just as fun.
Wembley Stadium players warm up, women's fa cup final 2016
(actually, as a sidenote, I remember taking H to see Carshalton Athletic play. There was a note for the crowds to remind everyone it’s a family club and to mind their language. 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. It’ll be our first time watching Harry Kane play. It’ll be H’s first men’s game and I know the atmosphere will be different, even being in the family stand.

The FA Launches Girls Football Week 2015

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

Girls Football Week 2015 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 2015 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 2015.
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 gets 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 and I hope it continues. We won’t talk about the last England Euro qualifier which didn’t make it onto tv, mind. H’s favourites are still Casey Stoney and Fran Kirby. She loves Harry Kane just as much. It’s all good.

H Went to Wembley

We went to Wembley on Saturday to watch the Women’s FA Cup Final – Chelsea vs Notts County.
Wembley view from block 137
We went as neutrals, having no preference for either team, and trying not to let our feelings for the men’s teams cloud our judgement in any way.
We made it on time too – from Carshalton to Wembley it takes about an hour and 20 minutes (including the bus from Morden) and was a straight and easy route. Hopping onto a Metropolitan train when we got to Finchley Road made it an even faster journey.
H at Wembley
After stopping for nasty burgers and chips (my only vegetarian option, I remembered Wembley’s food being expensive), we got into the stadium. Aaaah.
A random lady who had a number one hit sang her pop song, while large inflatable things had the names of each team. Despite buying tickets way before the finalists were known, we were with all the Chelsea supporters – though you wouldn’t have known. If you watched the Women’s World Cup you may, like us, have been refreshed by how sporting it all was. Wembley had that in spades – everyone applauded everything, and indeed, when Laura Bassett’s name was called out everyone cheered loudly – except H.
“MUMMY!! LAURA BASSETT IS PLAYING!!!!!” she squealed with excitement while being amazed she was watching players she knew. If only Fran Kirby had been eligible to play!
For a five year old, watching her second ever football match, it’s a big one. You know she’ll drift off a bit due to her age, but actually, she only drifted off right at the end (when I was hoping Notts County would score, but also hoping they wouldn’t as H was so tired!).
H outside Wembley
So that’s one off the bucket list – we’ve taken H to watch a football match at Wembley! We went as neutrals, had a great time, enjoyed watching the presentation of the cup at the end, and H was especially happy as Wembley has a playground right outside the Designer Outlet part (where she got a second burst of energy).

H Loves Football – and We Can Play

The FA has launched a new campaign, We Can Play.

We can play is a new campaign from The FA.
When you’re in my vicinity and share living space with me, there isn’t a lot of choice – football is a part of it.
When Shaun first came to the UK we saw York City play – vs Hull City. He adopted Hull of course. We allowed him to change his team just the once, as long as it was Tottenham, which he duly, eventually did.
H watching tottenham
So, when H was born football was going to be her game. When she was a baby she watched games with me. She had no idea what was going on, but has grown up with it from birth. I was on maternity leave for the 2010 World Cup – talk about good timing! As soon as she could speak, the names Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Harry Redknapp were taught. She even made a Gareth Bale out of Hama Beads. Harry Kane is her hero at the moment, and rightly so.
Once she turned four I took her for lessons with Crystal Palace which started out well but didn’t end as well as I’d hoped. She enjoyed playing, and that was all that mattered to me. But when she stopped enjoying it, tearfully asking if she could stop, we had a break. Her friends had all gone to different clubs and it wasn’t the same.

Introducing H-oddle – Tuesday football time #crystalpalacefoundation

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

All this time I’d been looking out for England Women games to go to, having missed one in Brighton by a matter of hours – so when they got to play at Wembley vs Germany, I booked us tickets – at last! Except on the morning of the game H was sick – properly sick. We couldn’t go as she was too unwell so caught it on television instead.
Fast forward to May of this year, and H had a training session with Casey Stoney, the former England captain – and she got back her love of playing the game. I asked around for clubs to play at, and found our local Carshalton Athletic – who are brilliant. Other girls go, the coach wants to set up a girls’ team, and things are progressing in a really positive way. Girls go free to encourage them to join in – one week we had seven girls; enough for a team!
Football Mum of the Year, we can play
We’ve gone almost every week and H loves it. Her friends all come along too – all girls. They really fight back at the boys to get the ball and aren’t fazed by it. They’re happy when they score goals and not happy when they lose. They take it all incredibly seriously, and it’s great to see. H plays because she wants to play, not because she has to. It’s different.

This weekend we’re going to the Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley – we bought tickets way back when we spotted the game on the big screens outside the ground (on the way to Wembley Arena for Disney On Ice), catching the last days of Early Bird prices – so that’s £23 for the three of us. Notts County v Chelsea – and we’re going as neutrals as we still haven’t chosen a Women’s team to support.
The Women’s World Cup has made such an impression on H. Of course girls can do it too, but when you’re five you need to see it, and that’s what the World Cup did. The fact we came third and have players H remembers means that she wants to name her new Build a Bear, Fran Kirby! It could have so easily been a Frozen character. Football and Frozen are on the same level for my daughter now.
It makes me sad to see some of the England squad have full time jobs, but I love where it is coming from. It’s people playing football because they want to, not in it for the money, but that’s just what they do. If only the men’s game had more players like Harry Kane. He has a fantastic attitude and is a great role model with no scandals to speak of.
Things are changing with the women’s game. H is part of a new generation of girls who will have it easier playing football, because people like Casey Stoney fought to play games back when she was young.
It’s normal. It’s going to get better. This is why we support the #WeCanPlay FA Campaign. You can sign up to receive a newsletter and there’s also a handy link to find your local club.