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Women's Football News
The FA Girls' Football Festival, in association with Continental Tyres, visited Creasey Park Community Football Centre, Dunstable on Sunday 28 April.
More than 300 girls from local schools, clubs or just turning up with their families and joining in on the day, took part in the free programme aimed at encouraging girls to get involved in the game. The event was organised through the support of the Bedfordshire FA. The day also hosted Bedfordshire's youth female County Cup Finals and culminated in the Women's County Cup Final.
The participants, aged from 5-17 years old, were accompanied by England and Arsenal star striker Kelly Smith and two talented FA WSL players, Lillie Fenlon-Billson and Caroline Charlton from Liverpool. They delighted the youngsters by taking part in photography, signing autographs and offered top tips and advice on how to get involved in football. The two Liverpool players handed out the medals at Bedfordshire's youth female County Cup Finals and a Q&A was held to give an insight into the life of a semi professional female footballer.
The format of the day was fun and active, combining football, lifestyle and music. The festival was led by FA approved coaches and activities included skills and drills, interactive games (target shots, speed cage, batak boards), mini matches inside an inflatable pitch and the ContiWarmUp Programme - the newest endorsed coaching programme by the FA. Girls also had the chance to pose with the WSL trophy. Hair braiding and face painting added to the festival atmosphere.
In addition, the FA offered 20 coaches the chance to get involved in an exciting new coaching tool - The ContiWarmUp Programme. The free web based programme endorsed by The FA, is designed to optimise performance and minimise injury. Coaches were invited to find out more about the online resource, took part in a 30 minute ContiWarmUp demonstration and discussed the benefits of warming up with an expert Continental Tyres Coach in a question and answer session.
In 2012, over 7,000 girls experienced festivals across the country. This year, it is planned to extend the reach further with the launch of 11 stand alone 'super' festivals, along with a further 14 festivals that are run as part of an exciting match day experience at key FA Women's matches - the FA Women's Cup Final, the FA Women's Continental Cup Final, Women's England games and FA Women's Super League fixtures.
Laura Hardy, sponsorship manager at Continental Tyres, said: "We are really proud to be taking The FA Girls' Football Festivals around England for the second year. With football now the number one female team participation sport in England, our aim is to ensure its continued growth amongst youngsters and provide as many girls as possible with the opportunity to experience football with fantastic role models through fun and informal interactive games. For more information about our activities with women's and girls' football, visit www.contisoccerworld.co.uk"
The next event is on Saturday 18 May from 10:30am-2:30pm at Thame Utd FC, Meadow View Park, Thame, Oxfordshire and will attended by England and Arsenal players Steph Houghton and Ellen White.
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