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Women's Football News
250 girls descended on Brighton and Hove Albion FC 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 city and was organised through the support of the Sussex County FA.
Girls aged between five and 16 years from various schools in the city 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 team 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 Naomi Cole and Lily Agg from FA Women's Super League (WSL) 2 side Millwall Lionesses. The ladies were on hand to discuss life as top level female footballers and give advice on how to get involved in the game. Also in attendance were Brighton and Hove Albion mascots Sally and Gully Seagull, as well as Berry the Bear, official mascot of The FA WSL.
Polly Fildes, Women's Football National Project Officer for The FA, said: "Today has seen a fantastic FA Girls' Football Festival take place at Brighton and Hove Albion FC.
"We've had hundreds of students take part and getting this many girls attending the event shows the emphasis and commitment that the FA and Continental Tyres put into getting the message out that football isn't just for boys. It's great to see the girls in such a buoyant mood after England's win in the FIFA Women's World Cup last night.
"The Millwall Lionesses players 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."
England Under-23 international and Millwall Lionesses star, Naomi Cole said: "It's been a great day here in Brighton. Hopefully events like this and increased coverage of the female game will encourage even more participation in the future."
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