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Women's Football News
In the same week that Mark Sampson announced England's FIFA Women's World Cup squad, over 250 girls descended on University of Hull this week to take part in a free FA Girls' Football Festival, aimed at increasing and retaining girls' participation in the game.
The event brought together schools from across the county and was organised through the support of the East Riding 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 Tigers Trust teams included 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 kickabout with Doncaster Rovers Belles' Nicola Hobbs and Bethany England. The ladies were on hand to discuss life as top level female footballers and give advice on how to get involved in the game. The Tigers Trust also brought along a shoot-out for the participants to test their shooting accuracy.
Of the festival, Bethany who has played for England at both U19 and U23 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, added: "Today has seen a fantastic FA Girls' Football Festival take place at the University of Hull.
"We've had hundreds of students take part and getting this many girls attending the events shows the emphasis and commitment that the FA and Continental Tyres put into getting the message out that football isn't just for boys.
"The Doncaster Rovers Belles have been a real inspiration to the girls today and the variety of activities on offer has been great. At the festival, there are a number of exciting football-based activities, such as a speed cage and agility testing, as well as goalkeeping, refereeing and freestyle workshops.
"We also incorporate face painting, hair braiding and music to show that whatever your involvement in the sport, there is something for everyone. Our overall goal is to get all the girls that attend interested in, and playing, the beautiful game."
All festival attendees received a free ticket to a match at their local FA WSL club. Doncaster Rovers Belles' next game is on 16th May against Reading FC Women at 6.30pm at the Keepmoat Stadium.
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