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