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Women's Football News
296 girls descended on Bucklers' Mead Academy to take part in the free programme aimed at increasing and retaining participation in the game.
The event was the first FA Girls Football Festival for 2015 and was organised through the support of the Somerset County FA.
Girls aged between 5 and 16 years from various schools across the county were invited to test their skills in a range of activities combining football, fun and music.
The festivals are a joint initiative by The FA and Continental Tyres, providing an exciting, interactive football experience for both those new to the game and regular players.
FA approved coaches led the event, with Somerset FA staff and volunteers on hand to help out and referee. Sessions from the FA Skills and Football Mash Up teams included skills and drills, interactive games, mini matches and the ContiWarmUp Programme - the coaching programme endorsed by the FA.
Girls chatted and enjoyed a kick-about with stars of the FA WSL, as Ellie Curson and Shauna Cossens of Yeovil Town were on hand to discuss life as a semi-professional female footballer and give advice on how to get involved in the game. In addition, Female Referee Ambassador, Joanna Stimpson attended the event and gave practical refereeing workshops.
Participants were also treated to an appearance from Yeovil Town players Chris Weale, Kevin Dawson and Jakub Sokolik, who gave further insight into the lives of professional footballers and joined in all the activities on offer.
Polly Fildes, Women's Football National Project Officer for the FA commented: "Today has been a fantastic start to the FA Girls' Football Festival calendar for 2015.
"Holding these events shows the emphasis and commitment that the FA and Continental Tyres puts into getting the message out, that football isn't just for boys.
"The different activities at the Festivals help appeal to a wide variety of girls. Whilst we have a number of exciting football-based interactives, such as speed cage and target shoot, a freestyle workshop and referee workshop, we also incorporate face painting, hair braiding and music, to show that whatever your involvement in the game there is something for everyone. Our main aim is to get all the girls that attend interested and playing the beautiful game."
In addition to the activities available on the day, all festival attendees received a free ticket to a match at their local FA WSL club. Yeovil Town Ladies FC kick-off their season against Reading FC Women at 7.45pm on 19th March at Sherborne Town FC, whilst Bristol Academy play their first home game of the season against Chelsea Ladies FC at 7.00pm on 2nd April at Stoke Gifford Stadium.
Aaron Clements, Somerset FA Women and Girls Development Officer added: "This wonderful event gave girls from all over the county a chance to have a go at all things football related. Everyone had a great time and was inspired to play the game. It also provided the Somerset FA with a great opportunity to inform local schools about the County's commitment to girls football and I hope many of them will be inspired to start playing football locally."
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