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Women's Football News
Over 250 girls descended on Balby Carr Academy of Sport to take part in a free FA Girls' Football Festival this week, aimed at increasing and retaining girls' participation in the game.
The event was the second Festival for 2015 and was organised through the support of the Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA.
Girls aged between five 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 a number of 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 from Continental Tyres endorsed by the FA.
Girls also chatted and enjoyed a kick-about with Bethany England and Nicola Hobbs, stars of the FA WSL, who both play for Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC. The two ladies were on hand to discuss life as a semi-professional footballer and give advice on how to get involved in the game.
Of the Festival, Bethany who has played for England at both Under-19 and Under-23 level, said: "We're here trying to promote the women's game to the younger generation with the help of the FA and Continental Tyres, working together to encourage the players of the future.
"It's really good for girls to have something like this that they can do while they're young, with opportunities like this the girls don't just have to play with the boys team.
"Thanks to the support of FA and Continental Tyres, the girls can develop their skills, talk to ladies that are now playing and hopefully go on to join clubs and be the best footballers they can be.
"If these girls are aspiring to play we've got to set an example and give them the chance to take part."
Polly Fildes, Women's Football National Project Officer for The FA, said: "Today has seen a fantastic FA Girls' Football Festival take part at Balby Carr Academy of Sport. Our main aim has been to get all the girls that attend interested and playing the beautiful game.
"Nicola and Bethany have been a real inspiration to the girls and the variety of activities on offer has been great. Whilst we have a number of exciting football-based interactives, such as speed cage and target shoot, we also incorporate face painting, hair braiding and music to show that you can be involved in football in various different ways."
In addition to the activities available on the day, all festival attendees received a free ticket to watch their local FA WSL club, Doncaster Rovers Belles Ladies FC, play.
To find out more about The FA Girls' Football Festivals, please visit: www.the-fa.com/womens-girls-football.
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