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Girls get inspired at York Festival
 Women's Football News 15 Mar 2014
The FA Girls' Football Festival, in association with Continental Tyres, visited York College on Friday 14th March. 
367 girls took part in the free programme aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game. The event was organised through the support of the North Riding County FA, and York College, who provided the venue.
The participants, aged from 5-16 years old, were accompanied by Sunderland AFC Ladies players Rebekah Bass and Rachael Laws, Durham Woman FC players, Caroline Dixon and Jennifer King and Doncaster Rovers Belles midfielder Naomi Chadwick. The girls watched as Rebekah Bass and Rachael Laws had a competition over three events, the batak boards, speed cage and targets shots, with Rebekah coming out the overall winner.
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) and mini matches inside an inflatable pitch. Jane Simms and Natasha Wilson delivered a refereeing workshop and girls had the chance to pose with the FA WSL trophy, the Cyprus Cup and The FA WSL Continental Cup. In addition, the FA WSL mascot Berry the bear was in attendance, along with York City's Yorkie the Lion and there was hair braiding and face painting to add to the festival atmosphere.
Speaking about the day, Caroline Dixon said: "The event is fantastic, it's great that the FA and Continental Tyres have provided this opportunity for the girls. We are always looking for more girls to participate in football, if we can increase those numbers, even if its just one girl that finds another team to play for."
Rebekah Bass, who attended York College, added: " I think its really good, there weren't many things like this when I was younger. But now women's football is on the up, all the girls look like they are enjoying themselves and it's been a really good day for me."
Paula Stainton, York City In The Community Development Manager, spoke about the importance of the partnership between the FA and York City In The Community.
"We've worked closely with North Riding County FA to get more involved in the grass roots side of things, which is the FA's forte and expertise," she said. "And by doing so, we can offer suitable pathways and exit routes for girls that are attending our activities into grass roots football and through to the elite programme and the North Yorkshire Girls' Centre of Excellence."

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