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Women's Football News
An all-girls football team from Dorking is making a name for itself after victory at a football tournament attended by Premier League coaches.
Mole Valley FC took the Under-16s title at the second annual ‘Can We Kick It?' tournament.
More than 70 girls competed in the event organised by East London Ladies FC and Active Communities Network (ACN), a sport for development charity which works to empower girls and women living in some of the UK's most deprived areas.
Competition was fierce as teams from the across the South East, including those representing the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Crystal Palace Ladies FC and Arsenal in the Community, all gathered at Mile End Leisure Centre, the host venue.
Mole Valley Girls FC coach Nik Ward, who has been coaching football for the past eight years, said competing against other teams from around the region equipped girls with the tools to thrive on the pitch and in their personal lives.
He said: "Men's football has a massive head start, but women's football is catching up fast. This is about giving girls the opportunity to develop and grow. Through sports it's my belief that any member of society can experience success, failure, genuine achievement, hard work and rejection, all within a safe place where they can grow."
Crystal Palace Ladies FC was victorious in the Under-12s tournament, after a close match with Dream Team FC, who came together on the day of the competition.
Ranscilla Hughes of Crystal Palace Ladies FC said: "It's been a really successful tournament. I love football but when I was the same age as these girls I didn't realise there were so many opportunities for girls to play. The more tournaments like this the better, as it's a chance to bring girls together and help them improve."
Arsenal's Rebecca James said: "Events like this give girls the chance to meet up with other teams, and the coaches get to interact and organise matches which wouldn't otherwise be available."
Bellingham Kickstars FC coach Thomas Edwards, who also coaches teams at Millwall FC, said: "This has been a fabulous opportunity for young women and girls to come together and display the great contribution they can make to football. For many years the game has been dominated by men and I believe women's football should now be pushed further.
"Why can't a woman in football be bought or sold for £89 million if she is doing the same thing on the pitch as Pogba?"
Pallavi Patel and Vivienne Jeffers founded East London Ladies FC in 2014, with funding from ACN. In 2015 with the help of ACN the club launched a youth development programme called East London Little Ladies, aimed at 4 to 12-year-olds. The team now has around 40 girls on its register who participate in weekly football sessions in Hackney.
Pallavi said: "This has a been a celebration of girls' football. We hope it has inspired more girls and young women to get involved."
Oliur Rahman, London Programme Manager for Active Communities Network said: "East London Ladies FC works hard to engage girls and women in sport and today is a celebration of that. It highlights that if there are opportunities to play, girls will take part. We look forward to working with ELL in the future to keep encouraging more girls and young women to take part in sport."
For more information about Active Communities Network (ACN) please visit the website at www.activecommunities.org.uk or call 020 7407 8177.
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