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FA Festival visits St Georges Park
 Women's Football News 31 Jul 2014
Staffordshire's budding young female footballers will get the chance to sharpen their skills on the same pitches as international footballers Steph Houghton, Toni Duggan, Iniesta and Steven Gerrard at a flagship festival. 
The FA Girls' Football Festival, in association with Continental Tyres, will travel to St. Georges Park on Saturday 9th August. The festival aims to encourage more girls to participate in football by providing a fun, interactive football experience.
St. George's Park is the training home of the 24 England teams, and a national coach education, development and sports science centre for football, sport and business.
Current girls teams in Staffordshire are invited to take part in five-a-side fixtures and the Girls' Football Festival activities at the training home of English football, although any additional girls aged 10-16 are able to attend individually to take part in the interactive activities if desired.
Speaking about the festivals, Steph Houghton, England Women's captain, said: "It's great that the girls will get the opportunity to visit St. Georges Park and the fantastic facilities they have there. It's important that girls have fun playing football and the girls' football festivals are a brilliant way of getting them involved and showing them that it doesn't just have to be competitive. Sometimes it can be difficult to join a team but at the festivals there isn't that pressure to be an amazing footballer straight away, there's a relaxed atmosphere for the girls to play in and enjoy football."
A draw in England Women's next game against Wales in Cardiff on 21 August 2014 would secure their place at the World Cup in Canada with one game to spare. Their last group game is away against Montenegro 17 September 2014.
Participants at the festival will also have the chance to play with some of the stars of women's football, as FA WSL players from Aston Villa Ladies, Katie Wilkinson and Chloe Jones will be there to meet, chat and have a kick-about with the girls. In addition, Charlotte Lade, one of the world's leading professional football freestylers, will be demonstrating her amazing football tricks and skills.
Aston Villa Ladies have had a mixed start to the season, currently sitting 7th in WSL 2. Manager, Ronald Mellor, will look to build on their slow start to the season when they come up against Oxford United Women at Sutton Coldfield Town 8 August 2014.
The festival is organised with the support of Staffordshire County FA and St. Georges Park, the host venue, and will take place from 9.00am - 4.30pm.
Each festival is led by FA-approved coaches and includes sessions from the FA Skills and Football Mash Up teams. Participants will try skills and drills, interactive games, mini matches and take part in the ContiWarmUp programme.
The girls will get the opportunity to hone their refereeing skills at the same facility as Premier League referee Howard Web, as female referee ambassadors Lucy May and Jane Simms will be hosting workshops on officiating games through role-play, using flags, whistles and cards.
An interactive trailer will house trophies and digital stations, along with a variety of innovative equipment including an inflatable pitch, a speed cage, target shoot and reaction-testing batak boards.
The FA Girls' Football Festivals in association with Continental Tyres has gone from strength to strength, with 2013 attracting over 11,000 girls across the 33 events. Now a much anticipated fixture in the annual calendar for the Women's and Girls' game, the 2014 Festivals will once again visit over 25 locations around the country between March and October
Kelly Simmons, Director of the National Game and Women's Football, said: "We are incredibly proud of the achievements of 'The FA Girls' Football Festivals in association with Continental Tyres' over the last three years. Our Festivals have clearly shown the enthusiasm there is across the country from young girls when they are offered the opportunity to participate in sport in general and football in particular."
Guy Frobisher, Marketing Director at Continental Tyres, added: "The Festivals have grown year on year and have given tens of thousands of girls the chance to get involved. The day will be a fantastic showcase of women and girls football which we are really proud to continue to support."
To find out about a Football Festival in your area visit www.thefa.com/girlsfootball and www.contisoccerworld.co.uk.

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