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Women's Football News
The FA Girls' Football Festival in association with Continental Tyres visited Ipswich, on Saturday 24th May alongside the KBB Grassroots Festival.
354 girls descended on Gainsborough Sports Centre to take part in the free programme aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game. The event was organised through the support of the Suffolk County FA.
The participants, aged from 5-16 years old from girls teams across Suffolk, were accompanied by Watford Ladies players Kate Natkiel and Bonnie Horwood, as well as referee ambassador Lucy May and football freestyler Charlotte Lade.
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. A refereeing workshop was delivered 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 the Polly the Parrot from Suffolk County FA, who was defeated in the mascot dance off by Berry. There was hair braiding and face painting to add to the festival atmosphere.
Bonnie Horwood explained the lack of opportunities she had as a young girl wanting to play football: "I played in school and had to play in boys teams when I was younger there weren't any girls' teams but its getting bigger and better as the years go on. "There are a lot of different events going on and it gives a good insight into what we do and there's loads of skills and competitions and its good fun for the girls. "
Reflecting on the day referee ambassador Lucy May explained the importance of these events. "It's been really successful, we've had a fantastic day with regards to raising the profile of refereeing and especially raising the profile of women within football and not just with playing. If you look around everyone is having fun so it's been fantastic. These events are crucial because if girls have fun and enjoy what they are doing they are going to come back and try again."
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