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Article by Kaz Russell-Graham | 25th August 2019

Kent Achieving In Women's And Girls' Football

England may have fallen to final winners USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, but their semi-final was a proud display of talent and passion. Women’s football is here to stay – and Kent is playing its part.

Kent has the biggest league for girls and women in the country – and it’s growing fast! Showcasing the skills of girls aged eight to 18 years, and with teams in every age group, the Kent Girls’ and Ladies’ Football League (KGLFL) has sides starting at 5v5, then 7v7 before progressing to 11v11 (adults play in a separate Ladies SE Counties League).

Mike Hanaway, KGLFL secretary, already coached his son’s team. One day his daughter announced that she and her friends wanted to play, too … and from that point he was involved. “We started more than five years ago with 100 teams,” he says. “Now we have 230 teams across Kent.” Mike notes, however, that the structures in education are not yet in place. Whilst football is increasingly encouraged and popular at primary school, most secondary schools don’t even offer the sport to girls.

• Visit Kglfl.co.uk

SSE Wild Cats Football Centres

This FA-supported scheme aims to catch girls aged five to 11 who might not think of themselves as liking football or being physical. It offers the chance to try football for the first time, and then provides regular opportunities to play. The centres focus on making friends, having fun and being active through football.

• To find your nearest centre, visit thefa.com

Rising Stars Youth FC

Kathryn Derby is a coach at Rising Stars Youth Football. With teams from U7 to U13 in the Kent Girls’ and Ladies’ League, the club also promotes football and life skills in a fun and safe environment, with weekly training, friendlies and tournaments. Kathryn played pub level women’s football in London before moving to Whitstable. There, with two other coaches, she co-founded this FA Charter Standard Community Club, running teams for girls and boys and promoting fun, skills and confidence. 

In the following five years, participation increased from two mixed teams to 21 teams, and in 2016 they won Kent FA Standard Community Club of the year. “There’s a real demand to play,” she says. 

• Visit risingstarsyouthfc.co.uk

Canterbury Team Seeking Players

Canterbury Youth is a friendly club happy to work with clubs and schools wanting to get more girls playing. They are also starting an U11 girls team, and are ready to build a squad and recruit girls going into Year 6 this September, with a view to entering KGLFL (Kent Girls’ and Ladies’ Football League) in 2020. 

• For more information, contact Craig Knight, Canterbury Youth FC, via email at craig.knight0@gmail.com

Image © Steven Carter Hewson

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